CANADA: ULTRASOUND & MEDICAL ABORTION – Doctors in Canada can now prescribe abortion pills without a woman having to have an ultrasound. 

Previously, the Canadian product monograph for medical abortion pills (brand name Mifegymiso) indicated that an ultrasound was required before prescribing the pills to confirm the number of weeks of pregnancy and to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. “With the changes to the product monograph, prescribers now have the flexibility to use their medical judgment on how best to determine gestational age and to rule out an ectopic pregnancy,” said the news release by Health Canada. … Continued

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION STRATEGIC APPROACH – Strengthening sexual and reproductive health policies and programs to address unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion

We evaluated how the World Health Organization’s planning, policy, and program implementation process, (called the Strategic Approach to strengthening sexual and reproductive health policies and programs or “the SA”), was used in 15 countries to address unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion. SA implementation was influenced by individual-, community-, organizational-, and policy-level factors.

SOUTH AFRICA – International human rights norms and the South African Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act: an argument for vigilance and modernisation

The right to access abortion services as an integral component of the right to sexual and reproductive health has been increasingly recognised in the field of international human rights law. However, much more progress is necessary to realise this right in practice. The work of the United Nations human rights bodies and more recently the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has been instrumental in signalling the importance of the legal framework and in setting clear guidelines to steer countries into reforming national laws in order to comply with their international obligations.

IRELAND – A journey from the impossible to the possible: abortion provision in Ireland

Cork-based GP and co-founder of Doctors for Choice Ireland, Dr Mary Favier describes how she campaigned for many years to remove the 8th Amendment as it was harmful to Irish women’s health. Dr Favier takes us on a moving journey from Ireland’s past, present and future showcasing the devastating struggles Irish women have faced in relation to abortions in Ireland in the past and the hope which we live in now as a result of the successful repeal of the 8th amendment. She is a specialist in family medicine and is in practice in Cork. She is a member of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) and a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She is a guest teacher on the University College Cork post-graduate general practitioner training scheme. She has been Chair of Education in the ICGP and is currently president-elect of the ICGP. She advocated improving clinical care by introducing early medical abortion provision in primary care settings in Ireland.

EUROPEAN UNION MULTI-ANNUAL FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK – EP endorses strong position on family planning, sexual and reproductive health and rights

The European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF) reports that a sizable majority of Members of the European Parliament voted to support sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women as key aspects of the European Union’s next seven-year budget plan for external relations. This position was adopted by 420 to 145 votes on the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument, which determines the EU’s funding priorities for … Continued

SOUTH KOREA – South Korean women campaigned hard for abortion law reform: and they got it!!!!

Since 6 April, some 60 pro-choice activist groups have been rallying in central Seoul, as have some 40 anti-abortion groups. Although a large majority in a recent survey of 10,000 people supported legalising abortion, not everyone agreed. In 2017, a high school student told a rally in Seoul she had been forced to end her education after having an abortion. “My teacher told me if I don’t leave school, he’d report me to the legal … Continued

RWANDA – All 367 women in prison related to abortion/infanticide pardoned and released, but more is called for

On 4 April 2019, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda pardoned 367 people who were in prison for having or assisting in the offences of abortion or infanticide, a move that was welcomed by women’s rights activists. The women were all released on 5 April. This is the second such pardon, but this time it includes everyone in prison for these crimes, according to advocates. The first pardon, on 9 December 2016, released 62 girls and … Continued

AUSTRALIA – Good news and bad news

On 10 April, the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) reports, in a landmark decision, the High Court confirmed that women have the right to safely and privately access reproductive healthcare without being accosted and intimidated. Four years ago, they played a central role in establishing safe access zone laws in Victoria to end the abuse and harassment that women and health clinic staff had endured for decades. Their progress in Victoria helped establish similar laws in Queensland, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory. Anti-abortion activists challenged these laws in the High Court. Together with an expert pro bono legal team, HRLC intervened in the case to defend safe access zones and won the case.

UN COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN – Reports on the 63rd annual CSW meeting

Sexuality Policy Watch wrote: “Since the mid-2000s, as anti-feminist forces began attending its sessions in increasingly larger numbers, the UN Commission on the Status of Women became a battlefield. Tensions and deadlocks intensified in recent years as de-democratizing trends mushroomed worldwide. The aim of the 63rd Session was to reach consensus in regard to “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”, a goal not … Continued

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