California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

California Governor Vetoes Abortion Bill

Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a bill that would have required all health centers at University of California and California State University schools to offer prescription abortion pills. Introduced in February 2017, Senate Bill 320 would have made California the first state to require access to medication abortion at public universities. Medication abortion was approved by the FDA in 2000, and currently accounts for one-third of abortions in the United States. A combination of two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, allows the patient to undergo the procedure in their own home. In spite of years of research deeming the procedure safe, thirty-four states heavily regulate medication abortion by requiring licensed physicians, rather than midwives or nurse practitioners, to administer the drugs. In spite of living in a state with otherwise progressive abortion legislation, women at public universities in California often have restricted access to abortion options. More than 500 women at California's public universities seek the abortion pill at off-site healthcare providers every...
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The Alarming Incidence of Unsafe Abortion Worldwide

The Alarming Incidence of Unsafe Abortion Worldwide

Approximately 56 million abortions are performed globally each year, with half of these procedures falling upon some continuum of danger that they pose. 97% of these unsafe abortions are performed in low-income countries within Africa, Asia, and Latin America, illustrating the enormous reproductive health disparity borne by geographic location. Abortions are classified by the World Health Organization as “safe”, “less safe”, and “least safe.” Many abortions conducted in developing countries are qualified as “least safe,” characterized by the insertion of foreign objects such as sticks and broken glass bottles, or the ingestion of harmful cleaning products. Ultimately, 6.9 million women each year are treated for complications attributed to unsafe abortions, and 23,000 women die from such complications. Yet, safe abortion procedures such as manual evacuation and abortion-inducing drugs are not financially out of reach even for low-resource countries. Thus, the solution to this horrific lapse in reproductive health lies in political discourse. While some countries, such as Ethiopia and Nepal,...
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Oregon Ballot Measure 106 would ban public reproductive healthcare coverage

Oregon Ballot Measure 106 would ban public reproductive healthcare coverage

A state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, Oregon will have a constitutional amendment to limit state funding for abortions on the ballot this November. After narrowly gaining enough signatures to head to the ballot in late July, Measure 106 has inspired intense activism on both sides of the issue. Oregon is one of seventeen states that uses its own funds to provide abortions; the federal government prohibits the use of Medicaid funding. If Measure 106 passes, the state would only be able to fund abortion in cases necessary for the safety of the mother — as in ectopic pregnancies — or in situations of incest or rape. Although the Oregon Health Plan paid $2 million for abortions for 3,600 women in the last year, the official cost analysis of Measure 106 states that passage of the initiative could cost the state an additional $10 million each year. An estimated 271,833 women of reproductive age are covered by the Oregon...
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South Korean activists call to abolish abortion ban

South Korean activists call to abolish abortion ban

Earlier this month, activists rallied and marched in Seoul to demand an end to the laws that criminalized abortion in South Korea. Though the official crowd estimate was 1,500, organizers believe that over 5,000 people participated in the demonstration. Speakers included physicians, clergy, and young women who shared testimonies about their experiences struggling to end unwanted pregnancies or access reproductive information. South Korea's current law, originally passed in 1953, makes receiving abortion punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of up to 2 million won (about $1,770). Physicians who perform the procedure could face even harsher punishments, serving up to two years in prison or losing their right to practice medicine. Since 1973, another law has allowed for abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation in certain exceptional circumstances, including rape, incest, genetic impairment of the fetus, and endangerment of the health of the women. In addition, women must obtain their husband's consent in order to undergo the...
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Receiving an abortion not associated with mental health harms, study confirms

Receiving an abortion not associated with mental health harms, study confirms

The notion that abortion causes poor mental health outcomes is often used to defend laws and policies that limit access to the procedure. So-called crisis pregnancy centers--fake health clinics that seek to dissuade women from receiving an abortion, often through manipulation and misinformation--sometimes tell patients that abortion causes depression, anxiety, and regret. They even warn of "post-abortion syndrome," a mythical condition that has been dismissed by scientific authorities. While reviews of scientific literature have found no evidence to suggest that abortion harms mental health, the existing research had limited generalizability. But thanks to the groundbreaking longitudinal Turnaway Study by Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), scientists can conclusively assert that having a wanted abortion is not associated with mental health harms. The study compares the effects of women who have and women who are denied an abortion and follows them for five years. In addition to finding that having a wanted abortion is not associated with poor mental health outcomes, the...
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Texas fetal tissue burial law trial begins in U.S. federal court

Texas fetal tissue burial law trial begins in U.S. federal court

The federal court hearing of a Texas abortion law began this week. The state claims that the law, which requires the burial or cremation of fetal remains following an abortion or miscarriage, ensures that dignified disposal of fetal remains. Abortion providers and reproductive rights activists, however, argue that the legislation is unnecessary and places an undue burden on patients and clinics alike. Courts have blocked similar laws on fetal tissue disposal in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Indiana. The trial is expected to conclude on Friday....
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Kenyan court case challenges government stance on abortion

Kenyan court case challenges government stance on abortion

After a three-day hearing, Kenya's high court adjourned a case on safe abortion until September 18, with a verdict expected by the end of the year. The case will decide if the government is responsible for the death of a teenager from complications of a botched backstreet abortion, and could increase access to safe abortion for women throughout the nation. The Kenyan ministry of health withdrew guidelines on safe abortion in 2010, and has since banned health workers from receiving training on abortion. FIDA Kenya and the Center for Reproductive Rights are challenging the ministry's decision, saying that it is a violation of women's rights. The government's removal of guidelines and training on safe abortion, they argue, has led to an increase in illegal and often unqualified practitioners taking advantage of desperate women, who face serious risk of complication or even death. The girl at the center of the case, known by her initials JMM, died last month after a botched backstreet...
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Self-Induced Abortion in Times of Crisis, Part 3

Self-Induced Abortion in Times of Crisis, Part 3

Passersby could hardly miss the bright pink stucco building near downtown Jackson, Mississippi in the southern United States. But the unusual color is not all that makes the building unique. The Pink House, as it’s called, is home to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. With some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the nation, Mississippi is one of 29 states classified as “extremely hostile” to abortion by leading SRHR research organization the Guttmacher Institute. Women currently cannot obtain an abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, the most restrictive ban in the nation. State governor Phil Bryant has repeatedly pledged to make Mississippi “the safest place in American for the unborn child,” joining other lawmakers in a crusade against reproductive freedom.   Yet this ostensible commitment to safety is less a compassion toward Mississippi’s children than a powerful political tool. Despite their professed desire to protect women and children, Governor Bryant and Mississippi state legislators...
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Self-Induced Abortion in Times of Crisis, Part Two

Self-Induced Abortion in Times of Crisis, Part Two

Content warning: sexual violence Despite rampant criminalization of abortion around the world, the international community tends to agree on one thing: an exception in cases of rape or incest. Even in the United States, where abortion is a hotly debated political issue, a majority of Americans support legalized abortion in cases where the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. Most people agree that women should not have to be doubly traumatized by being forced to carry a pregnancy conceived through violence. Yet in Myanmar and Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees have little choice but to do just that. Since August 2017, a military campaign of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes, causing the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. As one of many ethnic minorities in Myanmar, the Rohingya numbered nearly one million in early 2017. But the government of Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country, refuses to recognize...
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No remaining abortion providers in Guam

No remaining abortion providers in Guam

The Guam Women's Clinic is no longer performing abortions, seemingly leaving the small island without any abortion providers. Though the clinic is still operational, Dr. Jeffrey Gabel, unlike his retired predecessor Dr. William Freeman, does not perform abortions. Jamie Ward of The Guam Daily Post contacted several clinics searching for an abortion provider to no avail, and one of her contacts within the Guam women's health community confirmed that there is nobody on the island that women can be referred to for an abortion. Abortion access in Guam could be further restricted by a proposed bill that would permit abortions only up to 20 weeks, unless the life of the pregnant person was at risk. Guam's current law allows for abortions up to 26 weeks if the fetus has a serious physical or mental defect or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Abortions are allowed throughout at pregnancy if the pregnant person's life or health is seriously...
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