Gift of choice
Abortion Rights letter of solidarity with Victoria women
Abortion Rights statement of solidarity with Victorian (Australia) women
Abortion Rights fully supports the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 in its entirety, including Section 8. We denounce any and all recent attempts by a tiny minority of anti-choice doctors to reverse any aspect of the Act. In particular, we are appalled that at least one registered medical doctor has broken the law by not referring women patients seeking a termination.
Victoria’s law is simple and explicit as to what is required of doctors – the obligation to refer to a medical practitioner who does not have a conscientious objection (not necessarily an abortion provider). The obligation to refer upholds doctors’ right to conscientiously object, and modestly asks doctors to tell women the truth and to pass the patient on. In the same vein, women have the right to be told the truth and still seek medical care– their needs should not be trumped by another individual’s opinion, particularly a doctor who has registered to uphold the right to health.
The obligation to refer is standard practice in many countries worldwide; however, the British 1967 Abortion Act does not include the obligation to refer, and the risk this poses to British women’s health should not be underestimated.
If an individual doctor is morally opposed to referrals, they are negating their legal and ethical duty of care, and inhibiting women’s right to health.
We share the belief that it is good healthcare practice and better for women to be given truthful, non-bias medical information at their request.
We offer our solidarity to those urging the Victorian Parliament to not renege on commitments already made to uphold women’s health, and to stand by Victorian women.
Executive Committee, Abortion Rights
STUC Women’s Conference Emergency motion agreed on Northern Ireland abortion access
Abortion Access in
Following on from reports to the Women’s Trades Union Council of the Isles meeting in
Conference notes that over 1,000 women a year travel from
Conference also notes that women then have to pay for this service, free to women in all other parts of the
Further, Conference notes that the UN examining Committee on CEDAW (UN Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women’ in its 2013 Report on UK progress, called on the UK as the ‘State Party’ within the United Nations, should move immediately to decriminalize abortion in Northern Ireland and significantly extend the terms under which abortion would be legal.
Conference therefore asks the STUC Women’s Committee to work with the STUC General Council and affiliates:
Mover STUC Women’s Committee
(NOTE - this is the CEDAW UN Committee’s recommendation)
Recalling its previous recommendation, the Committee reiterates that, in line with general recommendation No. 24 on women and health and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the State party should expedite the amendment of the anti-abortion law in Northern Ireland with a view to decriminalise abortion. The State party should also ensure that legal abortion not only covers cases of threats to the life of a pregnant woman but also other circumstances such as threats to her health and in cases of rape, incest and serious malformation of the foetus.
Abortion: old war, new battles
Summary of changes to Ireland’s abortion law
Summary of changes to Ireland’s abortion law
The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill was passed by the Oireachtas on 11th July 2013, and on 30th July the Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Prime Minister, signed the Bill into law.
Members of the Dáilvoted 127 to 31 to legalise abortion in cases of medical emergencies as well as if the pregnant woman is at risk of suicide. Abortion in all other circumstances (including rape and incest) remains illegal.
The Bill includes numerous provisions that continue to restrict access to legal abortion, including stipulating that between two and three medical practitioners of varying specialties must approve the termination (except in emergency situations, wherein one physician can approve and then perform the termination). Moreover, the Bill specifies that abortions may only occur in an “appropriate institution” which only include maternity hospitals and some hospitals with emergency facilities.
Abortion Rights are concerned that these provisions, amongst others, make obtaining an abortion a very lengthy, costly and potentially stressful process for women and their families. Locational provisions disproportionality disadvantage rural women who are less able to attend an “appropriate institution”, particularly given the World Health Organisation (2008) lists abortion as one of the simplest and safest medical procedures when performed safely and legally.
Nevertheless, more than 22 years after the ‘X case’ and the promise by various Irish governments to reform and/or clarify abortion law, Irish women will now have limited access to legal terminations. Similarly, doctors now have greater clarity to guide their service provision.
However, Abortion Rights hopes that further legal advancements are made in Ireland to enable women to truly choose if and when they become parents.
According to Irish department of health figures released last week, approximately 4000 Irish women travelled to British hospitals and clinics to terminate their pregnancies last year. Given the limitations of the new law, it is predicted that many Irish women will continue to travel abroad to have their reproductive health needs met.
The Bill is now available in full.
40 Days for Choice: Speaking out against "saving" women
60 trumps 40 in London protest!
On Tuesday 24th September, more than 60 pro-choice activists turned out in Stratford to “welcome” 40 Days for Life back to London. 40 Days are an anti-choice group who hold 40 day long vigils outside abortion clinics to try to “save” women from making their own reproductive choices.
Previous 40 Days campaigns have handed out literature to women containing outright lies about abortion, such as claims that abortion causes cancer, and direct women away from regulated reproductive health clinics such as BPAS and Marie Stops to “crisis pregnancy centres” run by the anti-choice movement.
The demonstration against the opening event of the 40 Days campaign in Stratford was organised by Bloomsbury Pro-Choice, who have previously co-ordinated pro-choice counter demonstrations against 40 Days for Life in Bloomsbury, and are working with Abortion Rights to organise actions over the next “40 Days of Choice” (see 40daysforchoiceTumblr for more information).
The 15 members of 40 Days who attended their opening event were hugely outnumbered by the lively pro-choice protest outside, showing them that whilst they may be back, so are we..
Global day of action for access to safe & legal abortion
In Supoort of September 28th Global Day of Action for Acess to Safe and Legal Abortion, join Abortion Rights #SEPT28 Twitter Quizathon!
From 18th-28th, look out for the daily Q&A quiz @Abortion_Rights- Knowledge and prizes to be won!
We ask the question around noon, you answer ASAP and the first tweeter to correctly answer wins entry into the monthly Abortion Rights Pro-Choice Lottery (for the chance to win 200 pounds)!
AND for the grand finale, one quizmaster pro-choicer will win a bumper pack stuffed full of Abortion Rights goodies.. and eternal glory!
'After Tiller' comes to London & Sheffield
Later term abortion documentary After Tiller, showing in Sheffield and London
In Britain we are seeing the increasing ‘Americanisation’ of anti-choice tactics, with groups such as Abort67 (named after the year the Abortion Act was introduced and women in Britain were able to access safe, legal abortions) and 40 Days for Life picketing and praying outside abortion clinics displaying provocative images and boasting about the women they turned away on their blogs. They are choosing to focus on women - often extremely vulnerable women – at clinics rather than involve themselves in evidence based discussions in the media or in Parliament.
Nadine Dorries and other anti choice MPs have consistently attempted to use the time limit discussion as a tactic to draw the debate towards more restrictive abortion laws and increased barriers in the way of women accessing terminations generally. The current time limit in England, Wales and Scotland stands at 24 weeks in most circumstances. Later term abortions are rare, fewer than 2% of terminations occur after 20 weeks, but these are often the most vulnerable women in difficult situations.
It is true that the abortion debate is much worse in the USA, but this should stand as a warning to pro-choice activists in Britain that if we are not vigilant, where America leads Britain often follows.
A new documentary premiering at the Showroom in Sheffield at Sheffield Doc/Fest on June 14 and 15 and showing in London as part of the East End Film Festival at the Barbican on July 6; After Tiller, focuses on the stories of those left behind after the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in 2009 – one of the few doctors providing legal third-trimester abortions for women in the USA.
Lana Wilson and Martha Shane’s sensitive and extremely moving documentary, is a story of people who risk their lives every day for their work, many of whom were close colleagues of Dr. Tiller and now battle to maintain this service in the face of increasing provocation and harassment from the pro-life movement.
Inquest opens into death of Savita Halappanavar
Case heard as Irish doctors reject calls for abortion rights when woman's life at risk
An inquest into the death of Savita Halappananvar, who died in October after contracting septicaemia following a miscarriage – apparently having been denied a therapeutic abortion – has opened in Galway.
Among the first witnesses to give evidence was Praveen Halappanavar, Savita's husband. Mr Halappanavar has consistently maintained that his repeated requests for a termination were refused over the course of several days as his wife's condition deteriorated, because a foetal heartbeat was still present and, he was told, because Ireland "is a Catholic country".
Earlier this month the Irish Health Service Executive apologised to Mr Halappanavar for the care Savita received at Galway University Hospital and the events that contributed to her death. Its draft report on the case has found there was an 'overemphasis' on the foetus and an 'underemphasis' on Savita's deteriorating health.
The inquest opens days after doctors at the annual conference of the Irish Medical Organisation voted against several motions calling for access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, foetal abnormality and risk to the life of the woman.
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