INTERNATIONAL SAFE ABORTION DAY, 28September 2019
Thiswas probably the biggest yet. We published five newsletters full of reports ofactivities and statements, on 9-16-23 October and 15-29 November, and a 12-pagenewsletter with statements and media reports on 4 December. There were several bigTweetathons and the number of posts on Twitter by Campaign members and otherswas beyond counting.
ABORTIONLAW REFORM AND COURT CASES
India – abortion requests after 20 weeks become a major issue as courts fail to help girls and women; Delhi High Court pleads for raising upper time limit for abortion.
NorthMacedonia – passes new abortion law.
El Salvador – Supreme Court quashes Evelyn’s 30-year sentence for miscarriage and later commutes the sentences of three more women, some of whom have been in prison for 10+ years, who were all imprisoned after miscarriages, stillbirths and other obstetric emergencies.
Slovakia – threats to restrict abortion law throughout the year fail to succeed.
South Australialaw reformed.
Malta – first pro-choice movement launched andnational debate on abortion takes place around European elections.
Ecuador – national assembly debates a bill onallowing abortion in cases of rape and incest but votes it down later in theyear.
Democratic Republic of Congo – abortion lawreformed under Maputo Protocol and first training for doctors, midwives andnurses held.
Ireland – Implementation of the new abortion lawclosely watched and documented.
South Korea – Constitutional Court strikesdown abortion law, calling for new law by end 2020.
Iceland – Parliament legalises abortion on request within thefirst 22 weeks of pregnancy regardless of circumstances.
Argentina – On International Day of Action forWomen’s Health, thousands of abortion rights advocates marched in more than 100cities as the Campaña Nacional porel Derecho al AbortoLegal, Seguro y Gratuito tables a new abortion bill in the Congress.
Niñas no Madres – files litigation against Ecuador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua at UN Human Rights Committee, demandingaccountability, justice and reparation and protection of the sexual andreproductive rights of all women and girls denied abortion after rape.
France – bill toincrease the abortion on request time limit from 12 to 14 weeks fails, incontext of closure of a number of clinics providing abortions, forcing women tokeep travelling to other countries.
Australia/NewSouth Wales – bill decriminalising abortion is passed.
New Zealand – Abortion law reform billpasses first reading by wide margin, and public submissions on the bill calledfor.
Mexico – Four different moments: (1)Supreme Court rules that risk to health is grounds for the right to alegal abortion; (2) thegoverning Morena Party’s parliamentarians’ group tables a bill to legaliseabortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy; (3) Supreme Court ordersall public hospitals to terminate any pregnancy due to rape at the woman’srequest, without her having to obtain the permission; (4) the state of Oaxacalegalises abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Monaco – decriminalisesabortion for women. Women must still seek abortions outside Monaco but doctorscan help them find one.
Senegal – Lawson girls’ and women’s rights to be amended, including to allow abortion forgirls on grounds of rape and incest.
Canada – removesaccess barriers to abortion with mifepristone + misoprostol. FederalHealth Minister tells all provinces to fund abortion care.
Malawi,Mauritius, Jamaica, Burkina Faso – Advocacy for decriminalisation ofabortion and provision of services by abortion rights supporters, but no actualchanges yet.
NorthernIreland – The High Court rules that Northern Ireland’sabortion law is incompatible with UK human rights obligations. Due to action inthe UK Parliament, the law was changed and abortion is no longer a criminaloffence except after viability.
Malaysia,Senegal and Kenya – Abandonment of babies in the news, identified as an issuearising from being unable to obtain an abortion; abandonment of babiesdecriminalised in Namibia but abortion law not changed.
Zimbabwe – Ministry of Health FamilyHealth Director calls for changes in the restrictive abortion law to addressdeaths from unsafe abortion at a national meeting.
Uganda – State Health Minister says the Ministry is seeking a post-abortion care managementpolicy in hospitals to treat post-abortion complications.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Reproductive Health and Rights Coalition – formed in 2018 by experts from12 countries. In 2019, members in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Kazakhstan andUzbekistan carry out detailed situational analyses, evaluating access to andquality of abortion services and comparing their national protocols tointernational guidelines. Uzbekistan revises its national abortion protocol forsubmission to their Ministry of Health.
Cameroon – Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians launchesthree-year project “Advocacy for Comprehensive Abortion Care”, along withhealth professional, legal and women’s rights partners.
Belgium – Members of the Parliament’s JusticeCommittee re-open the debate on decriminalisation of abortion, but with 5competing bills, nothing changes much.
Italy – seven doctors on trial for manslaughter inthe death of Valentina Milluzzo in 2016, who began miscarrying when she was 19 weeks pregnant withtwins and died of sepsis in circumstances similar to Savita Halapannavarin Ireland when doctors failed to do an emergency evacuation of the uterus.
Australia/South Australia – a bill to reform the abortion law is in development.
NorthernIreland – petition to reform abortion law signed by 62,000 people.
Kenya – protest andsolidarity following the death of Caroline Mwatha.
Universal Health Coverage – Petition to support inclusion of sexual & reproductive health and rights.
Catholics for Human Rights – call for Vatican’s status at the United Nations to be revoked.
Morocco – Solidarity with journalist, herpartner, gynae clinic staff, all arrested for abortion and sex outside marriage,later freed and all charges dismissed.
Brazil – letter to protest Minister’s statement against Jacqueline Pitanguy – 628 signatures.
ABORTION RIGHTS ACTION TO COUNTER ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVITY
Latin America – Anti-genderpolitics, publications and protests. Sexuality Policy Watch monitors / reports.
Chile, Croatia,Bosnia & Herzegovina, Argentina, Europe – Conscientiousobjection challenged / countered.
Belgium, SouthAfrica – Attempts to pass laws recognising fetal deaths in miscarriages.
USA – Fetalheartbeat laws in three USA states passed and struck down as unconstitutional. #StopTheBans:National Action day called by 60 national and state abortion rights groups with500 demonstrations in most states and Puerto Rico. Six US states pass liberalabortion laws.
Turkey – Publichospitals in 53 of Turkey’s 81 provinces reject an abortion request if it comesonly from a woman, even though this is legal. Health professionals reject government demandfor names of women who have had abortions as part of “terror investigations”.
Poland, Kenya – Images ofdismembered fetuses in public places, which distort the truth about abortionand disgust the public are removed after protests against them.
Italy – 10,000pro-choice protestors outside large anti-abortion conference.
Croatia – pro-choice doctors condemnthe fact that 6 out of 10 gynaecologists and 5 of the country’s 27 publichospitals refuse to do abortions. First March for Freedom held.
Australia – Safe access zones outsideclinics providing abortions established in law in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory, and their legality confirmedby the High Court.
Hungary – passes arange of pro-natalist, anti-women policies.
Argentina – Anobstetrician-gynaecologist is found guilty of obstructing a legal abortion.
Canada/Ontario – Top court rules thatreligious doctors must offer patients an ‘effective referral’ for assisteddying, abortion and birth control
Georgia – Association HERA XXI presents the life stories of91 women, identifying socio-economic barriers and emotional and psychologicalobstacles that women face trying to access abortions, at a meeting attended by medicalprofessionals and representatives of INGOs, national NGOs, the PublicDefender’s Office and Parliament.
South Africa – Abortion providersface negative judgment from colleagues, while others provide services andtraining, and the government slowly, slowly moves national abortion guidelinestowards approval.
Morocco – Threedifferent moments: (1) Progressive abortionlaw reform bill tabled while six people go on trial for clandestine abortions;(2) Government Council asked to approve a covenant aboutchildren’s rights in Islam that would prohibit most abortions; (3) Aa new billtabled to decriminalise abortions.
Google – continues to allow anti-abortion clinics topost deceptive adverts, in spite of campaigns against them.
Indonesia – Proposed new highly conservative criminalcode, covering far more than abortion, leads to mass demonstrations and iswithdrawn
Brazil – A feminist journalists’ collective publishes anarticle online about how to abort safely. An online hate campaign is launchedagainst them, and they are reported to the police and other authorities, accusedof condoning crime. Solidarity statements published.
Poland – Bill inparliament to ban sex education and criminalise “promotion of under-age sexualactivity” is sent to a committee, where it will hopefully disappear, aftermajor protests.
Armenia – The Women’s Resource Center in Armenia is facing legal prosecution after months of receiving threats from Armenian nationalists and far-right movements.
FAILURE TO PROVIDE ABORTION SERVICES OR CARE
Yemen – Unfulfilled pledges of humanitarian aid will result in the discontinuation of life-saving reproductive health services for women and girls.
India – Although some 80% of abortions are with medical abortion pills, a survey of 1,008 pharmacists found that in Rajasthan,none of the chemists interviewed provided MA pills, only 1.2% in Maharashtra,37.8% in Bihar, and 66% in Uttar Pradesh due to over-regulation, legalbarriers, the requirement of collecting prescriptions, frequent visits by druginspectors, and concerns about side effects of the pills.
Nepal, India – Young, unmarried girls resorting to unsafe abortions because of the failure of health services to provide them with information and confidential abortion care, and in India because abortion under age 18 must be reported to police as arising from rape.
PUBLICATIONS by the Campaign and three of our AssociatedRegional Networks
Developing an Advocacy Agenda for Abortion in the 21st Century and Making Change Happen, An International Forum, 5-6-7 September 2018, Lisbon. Report in English
Right and Access forWomen to Safe Abortion in the Middle East & North Africa (RAWSA MENA)Capacity Building and Regional Advocacy Strategy on Safe Abortion: A Meeting toLaunch the RAWSA MENA Regional Network, 15-17 April 2019. Report in English, French, Arabic
Regional Conference onBringing the WHO Recommendations on Safe Abortion and Family Planning Closer toWomen in Countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, organised by the Reproductive HealthTraining Centre, Moldova, 15-16 November2018. Reportin Russian
Discursos en tiempos de amor y odio. Libertad deexpresión, cambio social y discursos contra el género en América Latina: CLACAISeminario, 4-5Septiembre 2019. Report in Spanish
InternationalConference on Population & Development at 25. Nairobi, 12-14 November 2019.
History and analysis of the meeting. 22 November 2019. Report in English, Portuguese, Spanish
Healthand Human Rights Journal: Special Section on Abortion Law Reform – Progresstowards decriminalization and universal access. In: HHRJ 25th anniversary specialedition, December 2019