QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA: HOORAY!!! – Abortion legal on request to 22 weeks passed by Queensland parliament

        On 17 October 2018, at 7.42pm, after a 50-year struggle by women’s groups, the Queensland Parliament voted 50 to 41, via a conscience vote, to remove abortion from the 119-year-old criminal code. During an often passionate and emotional debate over two days, 69 out of 93 members spoke. The new law makes abortion legal on request up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and thereafter with the approval of two doctors. It also … Continued

RIGHT TO HEALTH – Criminalising the right to health: the shared struggle of the HIV and safe abortion movements

Both HIV and unsafe abortion endanger life and health and have a disproportionate impact on people living in developing countries

This month, India’s Supreme Court struck down Section 377, a colonial-era law that banned same-sex activity and led to the systemic discrimination and persecution of LGBTQ Indians. This was a huge victory for India and – as two lawyers who have spent decades fighting for the rights of LGBTQ individuals – a very personal one.

UN OHCHR NEWS RELEASE – Stop regression on sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, UN experts urge

Rollback and regression on respect for international human rights norms threatens the sexual and reproductive health rights of women, including women with disabilities, UN human rights experts warned on 5 September 2018. In a joint statement, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) said access to safe and legal abortion, as well as related services and information are essential … Continued

ANGOLA – Integrated health care programme for adolescents launched

Half of girls in Angola have already been pregnant by the age of 18, which restricts their education and opportunities, according to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Ana Paula do Sacramento, during a national conference on sexual and reproductive health in adolescents, in August 2018. In Angola, 73% of the population is under the age of 30. The risk of maternal death from pregnancy complications in young girls under the age of 20 is … Continued

NORWAY – Supreme Court judgment: case of a Catholic GP and a local municipality

In this case, a GP, who is Catholic, sued a local municipality for firing her for refusing to insert IUDs. The GP was hired in 2011. The municipality agreed when they hired her that she would not need to insert IUDs since there were a number of other GPs in her practice who she could refer women to. The Supreme Court, hearing the case, said this was not an illegal contract under the regulations valid … Continued

SWAZILAND – Global Gag Rule hits main SRHR service provider

The Family Life Association of Swaziland/Ewsatini, an IPPF member, has lost a quarter of its total funding under the US Global Gag Rule; 56 jobs have been lost (26 staff and 30 community workers). Begun in 1979, FLAS’s strategic focus was on contraception and family planning services. Since 1999, their focus was broadened to provide comprehensive SRHR and HIV services and information. More than half the population are younger than 20 years old; so their … Continued

NORTHERN IRELAND – UK Women and Equalities Committee launches inquiry into abortion law

In Northern Ireland, unlike in Great Britain, abortion is only legal if the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy poses a serious, permanent or long-term risk to her health and well-being. In practice, there are almost no abortions. In 2016, a UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women inquiry on access to abortion in Northern Ireland concluded that the rights of women in Northern Ireland were being violated, and argued that … Continued

GUATEMALA – Two laws addressing abortion tabled in Congress

Guatemalan legislators began debate on 4 September 2018 on two bills proposing abortion law reform: one looking to widen the law and the other to toughen it. Currently, abortion is only allowed if the woman’s life is in danger. The bill, sponsored by the leftist Convergencia opposition party, aimed to allow girls aged 14 or under who have been victims of sexual abuse to have an abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The … Continued


Two doctors defend right to inform patients Two gynaecologists in Germany were put on trial in August 2018 after one refused to pay a €6,000 fine for listing abortion on their website as one of the medical services offered at their practice. During the trial, a 200-300 person demonstration outside the court argued that providing information to women shouldn’t be a crime. According to Germany’s criminal code, however, anyone who publically “offers, announces [or] advertises” … Continued

JORDAN – Roundtable and position paper on abortion

Share-Net in Jordan reports: “Following the roundtable meeting on abortion held in Jordan in April 2018, several follow-up meetings were attended by 26 experts representing concerned government, civil society and international organizations. With their input, a position paper on abortion in Jordan was drafted. The paper explains the grounds upon which the position is based including religious opinions (fatwas) and resolutions of the Jordanian Iftaa Board of the General Ifta Department, which is identified by … Continued

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