Sunday, February 7, 2016
New York Times (Feb. 5, 2016): Female Genital Cutting: Not Just "an African Problem," by Pam Belluck and Joe Cochrane:
New documentation shows that female genital cutting is widespread in Indonesia, one of the most populous countries in Asia and the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation. It is estimated that 60 million women and girls have been cut, using a technique that is less invasive than is common in Africa. Current regulations require the cutting to be performed by a medical professional who may do no more than scratch the clitoral hood without injuring the clitoris. Most cutting is performed on infants. Unicef has been working in Indonesia to end the practice.
The practice of female genital cutting persists, despite reductions in its incidence worldwide. The reductions are not keeping up with population growth with the result that the number of girls and woman being cut is expected to rise over the next 15 years. Cultural beliefs about the practice vary, including that without it women cannot truly be women and cannot marry.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
New York Times (Jan. 17, 2016): On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, but Few Doctors Will Perform Them, by Gaia Pianigiani:
Thirty years ago, the long fight for abortion rights resulted in a law permits abortion with ninety days of pregnancy and later for women in mental or physical danger or in cases of serious fetal pathologies. But nearly three-quarters of the country's gynecologists--more in some regions--are conscientious objectors to the law, reflecting the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the delivery of medical care. Many non-objecting physicians, who tend to be part of the older generation of practitioners, are approaching retirement age. Non-invasive abortions are completely unavailable in some regions, despite a national directive that has been in place since 2009. The European Committee of Social Rights has deemed the lack of access to abortion in certain regions detrimental to the health of women.
Friday, May 8, 2015
The Daily Beast: Chile’s Shocking DIY Abortion Ad Campaign, by Nina Strochlic:
“It’s important that you find a long and steep set of stairs,” a young, brunette woman says in Spanish to a hand-held camera. She walks up steps of an anonymous building. “Make sure there’s no security cameras, so no one can see you.” . . .
“In Chile an accidental abortion is the only kind of abortion that is not considered a crime,” the video displays in bold type. The satirical videos are part of a campaign launched last month called Abortion Tutorials. It was conceived for theMiles Organization, a reproductive rights NGO, by advertising agency Grey Chile. The groups are hoping the Chilean government will be shamed into reforming what is the strictest abortion law in the world. . . .
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Metro.co.uk: Pregnant girl, 10, ‘denied life-saving abortion after being raped by stepfather’, by Harry Readhead:
A 10-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather has allegedly been denied the abortion she desperately needs.
The child was found to be 21 weeks pregnant after arriving at hospital in Asunción, Paraguay, this month complaining of stomach pains.
Amnesty International reports that the girl’s pregnancy came as a result of being raped by her stepfather, but she has allegedly been denied a life-saving abortion and sent to a centre for young mothers instead. . . .
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The Hill: Iran's War on Women, by Soona Samsami:
March 8 marked International Women’s Day, a day to reflect on the situation of women throughout the world. With all the talk about Iran’s nuclear program, little attention is being paid to the internal situation, particularly Iran’s ongoing war on women. . . .
The bill itself undermines the reproductive rights of women, and limits access to contraception among other restrictions. The law would block employment at certain jobs for Iranian women who choose not to have children, making it clearly discriminatory and unfair. . . .
The Guardian: Iran aims to ban vasectomies and cut access to contraceptives to boost births, by Saeed Kamali Dehghan:
Iran is seeking to reverse progressive laws on family planning by outlawing voluntary sterilisation and restricting access to contraceptives, in a move human rights groups say would set Iranian women back decades and reduce them to “baby-making machines”.
The Iranian parliament is considering two separate bills aimed at boosting the population. But Amnesty International warned in a report published on Wednesday that the proposals are misguided and, if approved, would “entrench discriminatory practices” and expose women to health risks. . . .
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Sinn Féin drops opposition to abortion at Derry congress
The Guardian: Sinn Féin has dropped its historic opposition to abortion at its annual congress held in Derry, by Henry McDonald:
The party voted this weekend to support terminations in limited cases, such as pregnant women with fatal foetal abnormalities. This involves women whose babies will be born dead and who have to either go full term in Ireland or seek abortions across the Irish sea in Britain. . . .
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The Guardian: Britain's House of Lords approves conception of three person babies, by Hannah Devlin:
Britain has become the first country in the world to permit the use of “three-person IVF” to prevent incurable genetic diseases.
The House of Lords voted by 280 votes to 48 on Tuesday evening to approve changes to the law allowing fertility clinics to carry out mitochondrial donation. Babies conceived through this IVF technique would have biological material from three different people – a mother, father and a female donor. . . .
Technically the baby would have three biological parents, with 99.8% of genetic material coming from the mother and father and 0.2% coming from the mitochondrial donor. . . .
PBS: Why the term 'three-person baby' makes doctors wince, by Rebecca Johnson:
MELAS is one of about 200 known mitochondrial diseases, a subject that has featured prominently in the news since the British Parliament’s House of Commons on Feb. 3 approved further testing and research on mitochondrial replacement IVF. The procedure has beencommonly referred to in news stories as “three-person babies” or “three-parent babies.”
But it’s a term that makes doctors wince. . . .
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The New York Times: Review: In Mo Yan’s ‘Frog,’ a Chinese Abortionist Embodies State Power, by Janet Maslin:
When the Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012 and was warmly lauded by the Communist government, he became one of the most reviled winners in the history of that great honor. Among the more benign accusations lobbed at him was that he was undeserving. . . .
Too easily lost in all this howling was Mr. Mo’s writing. His latest novel, “Frog,” gracefully and colloquially translated by Howard Goldblatt, is not the work of a hack or an ideologue. It is a rich and troubling epic — and a very human story — about China’s one-child policy, and Western readers who think they understand how this works have another think coming. . . .
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Ciara O'Connell (University of Sussex) has posted Women's Reproductive Rights in the Inter-American System of Human Rights: Conclusions from the Field, June - September 2014 on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The Inter-American System of Human Rights has proven to be a forum for the advancement of women’s reproductive rights in the Inter-American region. However, the Inter-American System faces significant challenges in promoting structural transformative change that enables women’s enjoyment of their reproductive health rights. This report examines three reproductive rights cases from the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: María Mamerita Mestanza Chávez v. Peru; Paulina Ramirez Jacinto v. Mexico; and Artavia Murillo et al. v. Costa Rica. In the summer of 2014, interviews were conducted with representatives in each of the case study countries, with the objective of the research being two-fold: (1) to understand how each of the cases developed, and the subsequent challenges and advancements; and (2) to learn from these cases in order to suggest recommendations for how actors can make better use of the Inter-American System as one of several avenues for protecting, promoting and fulfilling women’s reproductive rights. The report first discusses challenges in implementing women’s reproductive health rights, and then explores how the Inter-American System can strengthen its work on women’s reproductive health rights.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
NPR: 30-Year Sentence Lifted For Woman In El Salvador Abortion Case, by Jason Beaubien:
Seven years ago, Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez Aldana went to jail in El Salvador. She was initially charged with abortion but prosecutors elevated the charge to aggravated homicide, arguing that the fetus was viable. Vasquez always contended that she did not have an abortion but had lost her unborn son due to medical complications late in the pregnancy.
On Wednesday, El Salvador's Legislative Assembly approved a recommendation by the country's high court that Vasquez be exonerated. That's a remarkable turn of events in a country with one of the strongest anti-abortion laws in the world. Even when the health of the mother is at risk, abortion is illegal. . . .
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
NPR: Pope Francis Says Catholics Don't Need To Breed 'Like Rabbits', by Jasmine Garsd:
On his return trip from Asia, Pope Francis made strong statements supporting the church's ban on artificial means of birth control. He also said Catholics should practice "responsible parenthood" and don't have to breed "like rabbits." . . .
Reuters: Pope says birth control ban doesn't mean breed 'like rabbits', by Philip Pullella:
Catholics should not feel they have to breed "like rabbits" because of the Church's ban on contraception, Pope Francis said on Monday, suggesting approved natural family planning methods. . . .
The leader of the 1.2-billion-strong Roman Catholic Church restated its ban on artificial birth control, adding there were "many ways that are allowed" to practise natural family planning. . . .
Monday, December 8, 2014
BBC: South Korea: Contraception poster prompts outcry:
South Korea's government is under fire for a poster promoting contraception use which has been criticised by both men and women, it's reported.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare poster was meant to encourage women to "take responsibility" for using birth control in order to prevent abortions, the Korea Times website reports. It shows a young couple, after what appears to be a successful shopping trip, with the man carrying his partner's pink handbag and clutching several bags. The poster reads: "Although you leave everything to men, don't leave the responsibility for contraception to them."
There was a swift backlash from social media users . . . .
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Mother Jones: Meet the Family Behind Latin America's Version of Planned Parenthood, by Maddie Oatman:
People in the United States have been going to Planned Parenthood for nearly a century, ever since Margaret Sanger opened her first birth control clinic in Brooklyn in 1916. But it wasn't until 1977, after the US had already celebrated Roe v. Wade, that Colombian women had any equivalent organization to turn to. That was the year Dr. Jorge Villarreal started Oriéntame, a women's reproductive health clinic now credited with inspiring more than 600 outposts across Latin America "and for reshaping abortion politics across the continent," writes Joshua Lang in a story about the Villarreal family, out today in California Sunday. . . .
Thursday, November 13, 2014
The New York Times: Post-Mortems of Victims Point to Tainted Medication in India Sterilization Deaths, by Suhasini Raj & Ellen Barry:
Post-mortem examinations of several women who died after surgery at a government sterilization camp last weekend in central Indiasuggest that tainted medications might be to blame, rather than the unsanitary conditions or the assembly-line haste of the operations, a district medical officer said Thursday.
Initially, health officials suspected that 12 women succumbed to septic shock from infections contracted during their tubal ligation operations on Saturday, in the state of Chhattisgarh. The surgeon who operated on most of them, Dr. R. K. Gupta, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of culpable homicide. . . .
CNN: Surgeon tied to India sterilization deaths arrested, by Paul Armstrong, Sania Farooqui & Greg Botelho:
A surgeon has been arrested on charges of negligence and attempted culpable homicide in the deaths of a dozen women who had undergone sterilization operations at a mobile clinic in one of India's poorest states. . . .
See also: The Washington Post: Deaths shine light on ‘horrible’ conditions in India’s mass sterilization camps, by Annie Gowan
Saturday, August 30, 2014
The New York Times Magazine: The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion, by Emily Bazelon:
In June 2001, under a cloud-streaked sky, Rebecca Gomperts set out from the Dutch port of Scheveningen in a rented 110-foot ship bound for Ireland. Lashed to the deck was a shipping container, freshly painted light blue and stocked with packets of mifepristone (which used to be called RU-486) and misoprostol. The pills are given to women in the first trimester to induce a miscarriage. Medical abortion, as this procedure is called, had recently become available in the Netherlands. But use of misoprostol and mifepristone to end a pregnancy was illegal in Ireland, where abortion by any means remains against the law, with few exceptions. . . .
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Alba Ruibal (CONICET Argentina; European University Institute - Department of Law) has posted Reform and Backlash in Mexico's Abortion Law: Political and Legal Opportunities for Mobilization and Countermobilization on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The restrictive legal framework of abortion in Latin America has started to change during the past decade, as legislative reforms and high court decisions have liberalized, to different extents, the abortion laws in Colombia, Mexico City, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Feminist mobilization has been the crucial factor of change in this area of rights, and conservative religious actors have been the main opponents of reform. Political and legal factors contribute to understand the timing and outcomes of legal changes, as well as the capacity of movement and counter-movement to influence reform processes. Based on field work carried out in Mexico, this paper analyzes the main components of the legal and political opportunities that have been relevant in abortion legal reform in that country, which offer important points of reference for other Latin American cases. Drawing on social movement theory and legal studies literature, this paper highlights the importance of relatively stable components of political opportunities such as the type of institutional organization of federalism, which determines the location of abortion policy - and the possibilities of social movements to influence it, as well as of institutional arrangements and cultural understandings regarding the relationship between State and Church. Regarding more contingent political factors, the analysis of this case confirms that divisions among elites, and in particular post-electoral conflict, may create conditions for rights advocacy actors, whereas politicians’ search for legitimacy and short-term electoral incentives may favor counter-reformers, especially at the local level - where there may be greater Church’s influence and less accountability mechanisms. With regards to the legal opportunity, the paper highlights the role of the rules of access to courts and legal standing in constitutional review proceedings, as determinants of the types of actors and claims that reach the courts. The analysis of the Mexican case shows how constitutional courts, in their quest for institutional legitimacy, may expand the legal opportunity for the participation of social actors at judicial proceedings, when facing decisions that involve highly controversial issues and social conflicts. Finally, the paper shows how rules of opinion formation at courts may affect final judicial outcomes and the influence of social actors in them.
Monday, August 11, 2014
The Guardian: Iran bans permanent contraception to boost population growth:
The bill, banning vasectomies and similar procedures in women, is parliament's response to a decree Khamenei issued in May to increase the population to "strengthen national identity" and counter "undesirable aspects of western lifestyles".
Doctors who violate the ban will be punished, the IRNA reported. . . .
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
ThinkProgress: UN Warns Countries With Draconian Abortion Bans That They’re Violating Human Rights, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
United Nations officials are urging several countries with particularly harsh abortion bans to increase legalization of the medical procedure, pointing out their current laws could be in breach of international human rights treaties.
In its periodic reviews of member countries’ policies to ensure they’re compliant with the Geneva Conventions, the UN Human Rights Committee is recommending that Ireland and Chile update their abortion laws to ensure access for more women. Those two countries have some of the most restrictive abortion policies in the world; Chile imposes a total ban on the procedure, while Ireland has a nearly total ban with an extremely narrow exception. . . .
Jezebel: Legalizing Prostitution Could Lower the Spread of HIV by One-Third, by Hillary Crosley:
Here's a crazy thought; legalizing prostitution could reduce the number of international HIV infections for female sex workers by at least a third in several countries. Health experts presented this new research drawn from Canada, India and Kenya during the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday. . . .
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The Globe and Mail: Trudeau now says all Liberal MPs must vote pro-choice, by Daniel LeBlanc:
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has clarified his party’s pro-choice policy after at least one sitting MP felt he was “grand-fathered” and could continue to vote against abortion rights in Canada. . . .