BRAZIL – Abortion: Why is decriminalization necessary? Arguments presented to the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court at the Public Hearing of ADPF 442, 3-6 August 2018

On 3-6 August 2018, Brazil’s Supreme Court held a public hearing on ADPF 442, the petition to decriminalise abortion in the first trimester. The Anis Bioethical Institute has now published an outlines of the many arguments presented at the hearing in clear, accessible language, grounded in public health, bioethics, international law, social sciences, and the role of religions in a secular state. The evidence is indispensable to any serious debate about health policy on abortion.

EUROPE/LATIN AMERICA – Criminalisation under scrutiny: how constitutional courts are changing their narrative by using public health evidence in abortion cases 

This article explains how the strategic use of public health evidence, showing that criminalisation of abortion does not result in lower abortion rates, is changing the way judges are confronting constitutional challenges to abortion regulations. The state may have a legitimate interest – and in some legal systems, a duty – to protect prenatal life. Nevertheless, courts are upholding regulations liberalising abortion and declaring criminalisation regimes unconstitutional. This is possible given that lower abortion rates are not achieved through criminalisation, but through preventive policies. In addition, courts uphold liberalisation when the infringement of women’s rights resulting from criminalisation outweighs its purported benefits. This new legal narrative has been developed during the last decades by a series of court decisions in Europe and Latin America, and may prove useful for legal advocacy in some countries in Africa. The narrative combines the use of an analytical framework called the proportionality principle with an interpretation of constitutional rights that draws from gender-sensitive international human rights standards and factual evidence about the effects of criminalisation on women’s lives and health.

SMALL RESEARCH GRANTS – Call for applications for SRHR research linked to the mass migration crisis in the Americas

The Human Reproduction and Tropical Diseases Programmes based at the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization and CEMICAMP (Centre for Research in Reproductive Health) in Brazil are pleased to announce a Call for Applications for small research grants with the purpose of strengthening local research capacity and evidence generation on the mass migration crisis in the Americas. The research goal is to study the current mass migration events in the … Continued

TEXAS, USA – Reducing under-reporting of stigmatized pregnancy outcomes: results from a mixed-methods study of self-managed abortion in Texas using the list-experiment method

Accurately measuring stigmatized experiences is a challenge across reproductive health research. In this study, we tested a novel method – the list experiment – that aims to reduce under-reporting of sensitive events by asking participants to report how many of a list of experiences they have had, not which ones. We applied the list experiment to measure “self-managed abortion”

SOLIDARITY REQUEST: MOROCCO – Moroccan journalist arrested for abortion and sex outside marriage

Hajar Raissouni, a Moroccan journalist, age 28, was arrested by six undercover officers along with her fiancé leaving a gynaecologists’ office on 31 August after being accused of “sex outside marriage” and “consenting to have an abortion”, according to Amnesty MENA region. Other media reported she was accused of actually having had an “illegal abortion”, which both she and the doctor deny. The doctor and two of his staff, and anaesthetist and medical assistant who … Continued

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