On 3 August, a Campaign member from CommonHealth in India wrote to say that a very disturbing article had appeared in The Hindu about women’s right to abortion having to be balanced against the right to life of the fetus. The article, entitled “A tricky debate on abortion”, was by K Kannan, former Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the same court that in 2015, rejected the plea of the father of a 14-year-old rape survivor to allow termination of her 24-week pregnancy (see Campaign newsletter, 3 August).
Philippines President Duterte has announced the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law) so that couples, especially the poor, will have freedom of informed choice on the number and spacing of children. The RH Law guarantees universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education and maternal care.
A young, married woman has an unsafe abortion in an illegal clinic. She is taken by her husband to the public hospital, where she is admitted and made to wait eight hours before she is attended by a doctor. She is feverish and bleeding. The doctor refuses to treat her, saying that they don’t do abortions in that hospital and abortion doesn’t happen in the hospital. A researcher describes the painful experience of illegal abortion and its consequences of poor treatment, verbal abuse and failure to receive care.
A feature on the issues surrounding Indian abortion law and the events that led up to its recent amendment.
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in Thailand says it is trying to track down a senior doctor in Nakhon Pathom province who has been selling abortion pills through 27 websites online for 5-6 years, with total sales of about 600 million baht (about US$17 million).
The need for multiple clinical visits remains a barrier to women accessing safe legal medical abortion services. Alternatives to routine clinic follow-up visits have not been assessed in rural low-resource settings. This study compared the effectiveness of standard clinic follow-up versus home assessment of outcome of medical abortion in a low-resource setting. Home assessment of medical abortion outcome with a low-sensitivity urine pregnancy test is non-inferior to clinic follow-up, and could be introduced instead of a clinic follow-up visit in a low-resource setting.
A recent paper entitled “Can India transition from informal abortion provision to safe and formal services?” discusses the fact that although abortion was legalised in India in 1972, several barriers continue to prevent women from accessing safe services, especially in rural areas.
Following a review in April 2016, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) called on the Philippines government to repeal the absolute ban on abortion in the Philippines, provide access to sexual and reproductive health services, including universal access to modern contraception, and address misinformation on contraception, particularly in Manila.
This paper describes contraceptive uptake in 319,385 women seeking abortion in 2,326 public sector health facilities in eight African and Asian countries from 2011 to 2013. Interventions included updating national guidelines, upgrading facilities, supplying contraceptive methods, and training providers.
Inna Hudaya’s experience with an unsafe abortion led to years of depression. She founded Samsara, an organisation that started as a support group for women who have had abortions and developed into a hotline for abortion advice.