REFUGEES/MIGRATION: MEDITERRANEAN – “More Than One Million Pains”

Every year since 2014, tens of thousands of refugees and migrants have travelled the central Mediterranean route to Italy, one of the most active and dangerous migration passageways in the world. Along the way, many experience kidnapping, exploitation, extortion, and enslavement. Large numbers die in the desert, are confined to hellish detention centers in Libya, or drown at sea. Sexual violence against refugee and migrant women and girls is rampant throughout the route. Women and girls also face sexual violence, including sexual exploitation and trafficking, in Italy. Less is known about the men and boys who undertake this journey.

JAMAICA – Groups and individuals call for decriminalisation of abortion in Jamaica

On 4 February 2019, in support of the motion tabled in June last year by member of Parliament Julia Cuthbert-Flynn calling for abortion law reform, the Partnership for Women’s Health and Wellbeing published a submission to the Human Resources and Development Committee of Parliament considering the motion with a long, detailed and passionate defence of why safe abortion is crucial for women. It is signed by 50 individuals and five organisations, and opens as follows:

ITALY – 10,000 abortion rights supporters protest against anti-abortion conference

Pro-choice activists took to the streets of Verona on 31 March to protest against a US-funded anti-abortion conference attended by Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, whose coalition partner Luigi Di Maio described anti-abortion rhetoric as medieval. Vice Premier Salvini did say, however, that the question of legalised abortion is not on the government’s agenda. Academics and political liberals came out against the Congress, and a coalition of some 30 civic organisations collected 147,000 signatures to … Continued

KENYA – Statement by 12 civil society organisations on abortion stigma in Kenya

We the undersigned 12 civil society organizations want to sound the alarm regarding women and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive health services and information, including on abortion.  We are specifically concerned about irresponsible billboards with misleading information on abortion that recently were posted in Nairobi. The messages on the billboards will fuel the stigma that surrounds abortion. Every day seven women and girls die from unsafe abortion in Kenya, yet these deaths are entirely … Continued

FRANCE – “They could have had a cervical smear strike, non?” Osez le feminisme

In mid-March 2019, a French gynaecologists’ union threatened to stop doing abortions in an attempt to force the Health Minister to meet them to discuss what they called a lack of insurance funds for colleagues convicted of medical errors. The union, Syngof, which represents about a quarter of France’s gynaecologists and obstetricians, wrote to its 1,600 members calling on them to be prepared to stop carrying out abortions to make themselves heard and force the … Continued

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