Poland’s New Abortion Laws

Poland’s New Abortion Laws

In the past week, thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across Poland for days straight to protest the abortion ruling on October 22 by Poland’s Constitutional Court. The ruling banned all abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or cases when pregnancy poses an imminent danger to the mother’s life on the grounds that this choice is inconsistent with the constitution. More specifically, this law prohibits abortions in the cases of fetal disabilities, which accounts for 98% of the abortions performed in Poland. Amnesty International, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Human Rights Watch have condemned this ruling, stating that it violates women’s human rights and will in fact inflict harm upon the physical and/or mental health of a woman. These groups have also called upon the European Commission and EU member states to address this “breach of rule of law and [its] impact on fundamental rights in Poland” because stripping women of their reproductive...
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Reproductive Freedom Act in New Jersey

Reproductive Freedom Act in New Jersey

On October, 2, New Jersey introduced “The Reproductive Freedom Act,” which would enshrine the right to abortion and other essential reproductive health care for residents of the state. The timing of this legislation is no coincidence; the ruling came less than one month after the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In light of the fact that another conservative Justice may take Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, this Act would protect the abortion rights outlined in the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The contents of the Reproductive Freedom Act can be condensed into three main points. First, the Act stipulates that all New Jersey residents maintain the right to make their own personal health decisions relating to birth control and pregnancy-related care; this includes the right to an abortion. Second, the legislation ensures that financial factors do not pose as barriers that would prevent anyone from making these health decisions. This would require private insurance companies...
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Abortion-Rights Bill Introduced in California Aimed at Public Universities

Abortion-Rights Bill Introduced in California Aimed at Public Universities

Last week, an abortion-rights bill targeted at public universities in California was passed inspired by a student-led movement at the University of California, Berkeley. If signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom during the next month, this legislation would mandate all on-campus health centers of California public universities to offer medication abortion by 2023. In the state of California, this legislation would therefore directly apply to 34 college campuses. Medication abortion requires taking two different pills which are approved by law to end pregnancy during the first 10 weeks. There have already been around $10.3 million dollars of donations raised privately that would go toward training staff at campus health centers and equipping the centers with proper medical devices for medication abortion. A study published in August 2018 directly analyzed California college students desire and access to medication abortion and concluded, “College students face cost, scheduling, and travel barriers to abortion care. Offering medication abortion on campus could reduce these...
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Abortion-Rights Bill Introduced in California Aimed at Public Universities

Abortion-Rights Bill Introduced in California Aimed at Public Universities

Last week, an abortion-rights bill targeted at public universities in California was passed inspired by a student-led movement at the University of California, Berkeley. If signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom during the next month, this legislation would mandate all on-campus health centers of California public universities to offer medication abortion by 2023. In the state of California, this legislation would therefore directly apply to 34 college campuses. Medication abortion requires taking two different pills which are approved by law to end pregnancy during the first 10 weeks. There have already been around $10.3 million dollars of donations raised privately that would go toward training staff at campus health centers and equipping the centers with proper medical devices for medication abortion. A study published in August 2018 directly analyzed California college students desire and access to medication abortion and concluded, “College students face cost, scheduling, and travel barriers to abortion care. Offering medication abortion on campus could reduce these...
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Federal Funded Family Planning Program New Rule

Federal Funded Family Planning Program New Rule

Title X is a federally funded family planning program for birth control and reproductive healthcare and it is particularly aimed at people with low incomes. Enacted in 1970 as part of the Public Health Service Act, Title X helps more than 4 million Americans each year. Under the Trump administration, a new rule would mandate providers receiving Title X funds to be separate from any providers that perform or refer to abortions. In regards to Planned Parenthood, this rule would prohibit all Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving Title X funds if any Planned Parenthood health center counseled on abortions or performed abortions. Legal challenges to this rule have led to injunctions; however, Planned Parenthood released a statement saying it will formally withdraw from the Title X program on August 19 unless a federal court intervenes. Officials from Planned Parenthood believe it is wrong to keep complete medical abortion information from clients, which the rule would require, and acting president...
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The Trump Administration’s Domestic Gag Rule

Since running for President and into his presidency, Donald Trump and his Administration have sought to undermine women’s access to reproductive health care. Last year, the Trump Administration proposed changes to Title X—which is federal grant program that provides funding for comprehensive family planning services. Known as the “domestic gag rule,” the proposed changes “gag” or bar healthcare providers from referring their patients to abortion providers. Moreover, the rule would drastically alter access to reproductive health care, including birth control and other family planning services, for millions of women who depend on Title X funded clinics. When the Administration released the final version of the rule changes, reproductive health organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association immediately challenged the rule. Despite a preliminary injunction that prevented the rule’s implementation, on July 3, a panel of three judges lifted the injunction. Devastatingly, last week by 7-4...
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The Irony of the Mexico City Policy

In his first days as President of the United States, Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy. Also known as the Global Gag Rule, the policy “gags” international NGOs receiving U.S. aid by not allowing them to “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.” First enacted by President Ronald Reagan, U.S. funding for critical reproductive healthcare abroad has been a partisan issue ever since with every Republican President instating the policy and every Democratic repealing it. President Trump’s reinstatement of the policy greatly expanded its parameters and includes a wide range of global health programs such as HIV funding through PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). The expansion of the policy diminished the provision of services by international NGOS who weren’t previously affected by the policy and who feared losing critical funding from the U.S. Last week, a study published in the Lancet found that when the Mexico City Policy is instated, rates of abortion...
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New State Abortion Bans

  Photo Credits: John Benson After the recent passage of restrictive abortion legislation in Georgia and Alabama, abortion continues to be under attack across the country. The abortion bans signal continued attempts by states to undermine a woman’s right to access an abortion. Last week, Louisiana Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, signed into law a restrictive “heartbeat” bill. The law, like other recent abortion legislation, would prohibit an abortion after an ultrasound detects electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’ heart—which can occur before most women know they are pregnant. Moreover, the Louisiana law does not include exceptions for rape or incest. Although the law will not go into effect immediately, it is likely to be stalled in the courts. In Missouri, only one abortion clinic remains open. If it closes, it would be the first time a state does not have an abortion clinic since 1974—when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. A judge is expected to a settle...
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Alabama and Georgia Pass Restrictive Abortion Laws

  On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation in the country. The bill not only bans abortion at nearly every stage of pregnancy, it also criminalizes the procedure for doctors who perform abortions. Although women who receive an abortion will not be prosecuted, the new law targets doctors who could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. The bill includes protections when a mother’s life is endangered, but it does not include exceptions for rape or incest. While the courts have continued to reaffirm a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion since the decision in Roe v. Wade, the Alabama law is most recent attempt to challenge the 1973 precedent. Since the beginning of 2019, nearly 300 restrictive abortion laws have been introduced in state legislatures across the country. Earlier this month, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed into law a fetal heartbeat bill that prohibits abortion after a doctor can detect...
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South Korea Poses Amendment for Anti-Abortion Law

South Korea has fostered an anti-abortion law for 66 years which names abortion a crime with repercussions of heavy fines and women facing up to a year in jail and doctors facing up to two years. Last Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled this law unconstitutional and concluded that Parliament must revise the law by 2020 or else it will become invalid. There are a few exceptions to the law which allow for abortions under the situations of pregnancy from rape or incest, pregnancy which poses great risk to the mother’s health, or pregnancy that will result in a child with a serious deformity. However, a study does prove that since the law has been enacted, there have been huge amounts of illegal abortions—49,7000 abortions took place in 2017 and an estimated 94% of those were performed illegally. There also seems to be a general shift in trends of what South Koreans think of abortion because a poll shows that...
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