UK – Letter to the Home Secretary re buffer zones for abortion clinics nationally

In 2018, the UK Home Office conducted a review of the evidence for buffer zones around all abortion clinics, to prevent women and staff being harassed by anti-abortion groups and individuals. The Home Office response was that national buffer zones would not be a “proportionate’ solution” as the level of harassment was not serious enough to warrant it. Following a Freedom of Information request, national abortion provider Bpas discovered that the evidence given to the … Continued

EUROPEAN COMMISSION – Nominees for managing the ‘Democracy and Demography’ portfolio reviewed in October

European parliamentarians began closed-door confirmation hearings of candidates for the EU Commission at the end of September 2019. Incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has until 1 November to assemble a team. Some of her plans have already been challenged, and two of her nominees were soon rejected. One of her nominees deserves closer scrutiny than she has received: Croatian MEP Dubravka Šuica to manage the ‘Democracy and Demography’ portfolio. Putting her in charge of this portfolio … Continued

POLAND – Bill to ban sex education and criminalise “promotion of underage sexual activity” sent to a commission for further work

The bill was introduced after a six-month right-wing campaign equating LGBTI people with paedophiles. PiS
officials have called LGBTI rights an invasive foreign influence as part of a culture and civilisation war that
threatens Poland’s national identity. Hundreds of people joining protest rallies outside the Sejm and across the country. The bill was due to go to the Senate on 18 October, had it passed. Instead, it was sent to a commission for further work. As PiS no longer has a majority in the upper house, the bill may be dead.

EASTERN EUROPE / CENTRAL ASIA – National Abortion Protocols in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Just under a year ago, a group of sexual and reproductive health experts from 12 Eastern European and Central Asian countries together launched the Regional Reproductive Health and Rights Coalition. As part of the aforementioned project, six Coalition member countries committed themselves to conducting a thorough review of existing national abortion protocols, including monitoring and evaluation plans, and revising their contents to be better aligned with the latest WHO recommendations.

RWANDA – Rwandan president pardons 52 young women in prison for abortion

On 11 October 2019, Rwandan President Paul Kagame signed a decree pardoning 52 young women in prison for abortions, including some convicted for infanticide, on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child. The statement was issued from a Cabinet meeting chaired by him; it said he was “exercising his power of mercy to give people another chance”. The Rwandan Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, said the President found it “fitting to give … Continued

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