NEW ZEALAND – Hundreds march for decriminalisation of abortion

Hundreds marched in Auckland to Parliament on 5 December 2018 to demand the decriminalisation of abortion. Despite a blustering squall, the crowd of about 300 rallied below the statue of former Prime Minister Richard Seddon on Parliament’s forecourt. They chanted “feminists unite, abortion is a right” and “We will not lose, give us the right to choose”. Placards had slogans such as “The choice is mine, it’s not a crime” and “A fetus is a fetus but a … Continued

ZIMBABWE – A community dialogue calls for legal abortion to reduce women’s deaths and unsafe procedures

A community dialogue in Bindura on abortion was organised by a consortium of NGOs, including Right Here, Right Now, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Real Open Opportunities Trust Support and Katswe Sisterhood in the last week of November 2018. Zimbabwe has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, estimated at 651 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births, in contrast to a declining worldwide trend. Members of the National Assembly from three … Continued

GHANA – Health ambassadors’ club initiated at the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind

The club aims to equip school children with disabilities with information about their reproductive and sexual health. It was initiated by the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service with funding from UNFPA. Mrs Thywill Kpe, Central Regional Director of the Department of Gender, said more often than not, people with disabilities (PWDs) were not included in programmes aimed at improving adolescent reproductive health. She said PWDs formed 10% of the Ghanaian population, including … Continued

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

KENYA – Marie Stopes Kenya post-abortion care services banned, then permitted again

On 14 November 2018, Marie Stopes Kenya was ordered to suspend post-abortion care services by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board, who said they acted after complaints from members of the public that the law was being violated. In a statement in response, Marie Stopes Kenya said they remained open and would continue offering essential family planning, maternal health and general medical services. In the following weeks, Kenyans online began pleading with Health Cabinet … Continued

USA – “Fetal heartbeat” law: yet another unconstitutional law to harass women and tie up the courts

Already mired in three lawsuits over abortion restrictions, Kentucky lawmakers are ratcheting up the stakes with a new bill in the Republican-dominated state Senate to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected (± 6 weeks). The American Civil Liberties Union, the state’s adversary in other ongoing court fights, warns the bill is blatantly unconstitutional and will immediately trigger a legal challenge. The legal standard set 45 years ago by the Supreme Court in … Continued

ARGENTINA – Abortion rights movement will try again in 2019

The National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, a collective of several hundred groups and organisations in Argentina, have announced they will embark on their 8th try in March 2019 to get the Congress to legalise abortion. This time around promoters of the bill hope to create a greater consensus following the 2018 experience where the initiative was passed in the House of Representatives but voted down by 38 to 31 in the Senate. … 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

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – Women jurists call meeting of leaders to discuss legalising abortion in accordance with the Maputo Protocol and African Union meeting celebrates 15 years of the Protocol

On 16 August 2018, the Association of Women Lawyers of the Congo organised a day of discussions on the issue of the legalisation of abortion. The purpose of this meeting was to inform that, beyond the Congolese criminal law, there is the Maputo protocol that supports safe abortion. Parité et famille received Pélagie Ebeka, president of Afejuco, the association of women jurists of the Congo; André Kibambe, lawyer at the Kinshasa/Gombe bar; Luc Keza, doctor … Continued

CHILE – Constitutional Court strikes down one part of the 2017 abortion regulations

By a vote of 8-2 on 13 December 2018, Chile’s Constitutional Court struck down a portion of the Regulation on Conscientious Objection of the Law on Abortion that prohibited private hospitals and clinics to refuse to perform abortions on grounds of conscience if they received state money for obstetric and gynaecological services. The Court had accepted an appeal in early December by senators of the Chile Vamos coalition (four centre-right parties headed by President Piñera), … Continued

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