BELGIUM – A new law to record the death and bury a fetus of 20+ weeks’ gestation

The Belgian parliament has passed a law to allow recording of the death of a fetus from 140 days (20 weeks) of pregnancy, i.e. earlier than at the previous 180 days (26 weeks) of pregnancy. It comes at the end of a long process over several legislative sessions of various initiatives to recognise a miscarried fetus as well as a stillbirth. The law makes it mandatory to record the death in the communal register of … Continued

FRANCE – The Simone-de-Beauvoir Prize 2019 has gone to Salvadoran Sara García Gross, for her work for the right to abortion

Sara García Gross has been advocating for the right of women to decide what to do with their bodies for a decade now, in a country where the anti-abortion legislation is among the most restrictive in the world. The award will be presented at the Maison de l’Amérique latine in Paris. It was created in 2008 on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Simone de Beauvoir in order to “help mobilise international solidarity, reaffirm … Continued

CANADA / IRELAND / NORTHERN IRELAND – Crossing Troubled Waters

This book examines and compares the stories of abortion access in Prince Edward Island, Canada, Northern Ireland and Ireland. It is co-edited by Dr Colleen MacQuarrie, Fiona Bloomer, Claire Pierson, and Shannon Stettner. It was launched on 19 November at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). The book considers, for each island, the nature of the discourse of abortion on the island, the impact that restrictions have had, ongoing efforts to improve access, and … Continued

Ireland: The Abortion Bill passes the first house

Abortion bill passed by a large majority On 6 December 2018, the lower house of the Irish parliament passed the Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy Bill at midnight with a vote of 90 for, 15 against, and 12 abstentions, after hours of debate and consideration of 60 amendments, almost all of which were voted down with large majorities. Minister of Health Simon Harris remained in strict control throughout the process, rejecting amendments by pro-choice members … Continued

GIBRALTAR – Government consultation on reform of the abortion law

Over the past few months, there has been a consultation by the government of Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory, but is not covered by the abortion law of Great Britain. The reason for the consultation is that the judgment of the UK Supreme Court in regard to the abortion law of Northern Ireland will also affect Gibraltar, whose law is not compliant. The consultation document proposed a very narrow reform of the law. … Continued

DOWN SYNDROME – Testing times: Down Syndrome and the new abortion battleground

Since 2012, we have seen the widespread international implementation of cell-free DNA screening techniques for Down syndrome, commonly known as NIPT. It involves a simple maternal blood draw. This test is now well-established in the private sector, and public health systems are gradually adopting the procedure as a much more reliable way of assessing the chance that a fetus has Down syndrome.

MONACO – Possible debate in 2019 on broadening the strict abortion law

Ten years ago, abortion was completely illegal in Monaco. Although it remains a taboo subject, and access remains very restricted, abortion was decriminalised in 2009 in cases of rape, or risk to the health of the woman or the fetus. Monaco women mostly head to France for an abortion, mainly to the city of Nice. This can take several weeks, however. And only those who are French nationals are covered by the social security system … Continued

FRANCE – Are abortion rights at risk?

“‘But I do not do that kind of thing!’ That’s what my gynaecologist told me the day I went to her needing an abortion”, Lisa recalls. “I was 19 years old, I was terrified.” Stories like this of rejection or guilt-making have been coming to light ever since a heated debate on the conscience clause has been stirred up in the world of healthcare. The conscience clause – a provision of the law allowing gynaecologists, … Continued

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