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.

INDIA: HOW NOT TO WRITE ABOUT A WOMAN’S DEATH 

Woman’s death from unsafe abortion blamed on “sex selection” without evidence A news report that a 28-year-old woman with three children who had been 7 months’ pregnant had died from a dangerous abortion was offensively illustrated as above. The article itself opens by saying: “The police suspect that the woman was trying to abort the fetus from the third month of her pregnancy after finding out that she was expecting a girl.” In fact, in … Continued

INDIA – Teenage cancer patient who was raped seeks abortion

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday constituted a medical board at JJ Hospital in response to a plea by 13-year-old girl, who was diagnosed with cancer of the blood at age 10, to terminate a pregnancy from rape, which was in the 24th week. Around three months ago, she told her mother that she had missed her menstrual cycle. Her mother ignored it, assuming it was due to her health condition. On 5 September, when … Continued

INDIA – Supreme Court says abortion after 20 weeks amounts to murder – in contradiction of previous judgments

On 13 July, Justices Kurian Joseph and Sanjay Kisan Kaul of the Supreme Court of India denied a 20-year-old woman permission to terminate an over-25-week pregnancy, and suggested that such an abortion would amount to murder. They also told the woman’s advocate, Sneha Mukherjee, who is with the Human Rights Law Network, that the ‘unborn child’ should have been represented in court instead of the woman and that she should have been made to hear … Continued

INDIA – 75% of abortions take place without the support or involvement of health facilities

  More than 75% of the 15.6 million abortions in India annually are estimated to take place without the support or involvement of health facilities and about 5-7% of abortions that take place outside licensed facilities are carried out using methods that may be dangerous. One doctor reports that use of “insertion of sticks and roots, ingestion of herbal medicines, abortifacient drugs, abdominal massage and incomplete D&Cs in unhygienic conditions” to cause abortions still happens … Continued

INDIA & USA – Women’s Human Rights and Migration: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States and India

“Some of the most hotly contested international women’s rights issues today arise from the movement of peoples from one country to another and the practices they purportedly bring with them. In Women’s Human Rights and Migration, Sital Kalantry focuses on immigrants of Asian descent living in the United States who are believed to abort female fetuses because they do not want a female child. While sex-selective abortion is a human rights concern in India, should we, … Continued

INDIA – Courts and medical reports are not the answer

According to an article in the Lancet of December 2015, 15.6 million abortions occurred in India, of which 73% were sought outside health facilities, despite India having a very liberal abortion law. In 2017, in what was considered a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India ruled that individual privacy is a “guaranteed fundamental right” as part of the right to life and liberty guaranteed in Article 21 of the Constitution. This judgment should have … Continued

INDIA – Government doctors being trained to help women get safe and legal abortions

  The Comprehensive Abortion Care programme is training doctors in abortion laws, medical and surgical abortion procedures, and how to counsel women. On a busy Monday morning in June, Dr Gopal Krishna was suddenly summoned to the emergency ward of Vani Vilas Women and Children Hospital in Bengaluru (or Bangalore in Karnataka) where he works. He had been called to attend to a 23-year-old woman who had been admitted with profuse vaginal bleeding. Kumari had … Continued

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