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57 Abortion Rights News Articles
from 2018 1st Half
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6-29-18 Pharmacy dispute
Walgreens faced angry calls for a boycott this week after an Arizona pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for medication that would induce a miscarriage for a woman with an unviable pregnancy. Nicole Arteaga had been saddened to learn from her doctor that her 9-week-old fetus’ heart had stopped beating. She opted to take misoprostol, a medication used to end a failed pregnancy. But the pharmacist at the local Walgreens refused to fill the order on ethical grounds, ignoring Arteaga’s tearful and careful pleas while her 7-year-old son was in earshot. “What [the pharmacist] failed to understand is this is something I have zero control over,” said Arteaga, 35, in a Facebook post; she later obtained the medication at another Walgreens. Refusing to fill prescriptions is expressly permitted under Arizona law and Walgreens policy.

6-29-18 The risk of a radically pro-life American future
The pending retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy from the Supreme Court has provoked alarm among defenders of women's reproductive rights. They worry that his successor may well be willing, as Kennedy himself was not, to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. This concern is fully justified. If Roe were overturned, abortion would immediately revert to being an issue decided at the state level, and as many as 20 states may be poised to ban the procedure outright. But this isn't even the worst-case scenario for abortion rights on a post-Kennedy Supreme Court. What if a conservative majority of the Court rules not that abortion should be decided by state legislatures, but that the procedure should be banned outright at the federal level as an assault on the personhood (and hence constitutionally protected, inviolable rights) of the fetus? Far-fetched? Perhaps. But we simply don't know how sympathetic the Court's current crop of conservatives might be to such arguments, just as we're unlikely to receive much illumination about the question during confirmation hearings for President Trump's nominee to succeed Kennedy. (Nominees have long eschewed answering detailed, specific questions about their views on the most controversial issues likely to come before the court, for fear of sinking their prospects of receiving an affirmative confirmation vote.) The reality is that such arguments about the personhood of fetuses are in wide circulation among conservatives and anti-abortion activists — and that they have gained considerable traction over the past two decades, eclipsing the originalist arguments on which Robert Bork would have drawn in seeking to overturn Roe had he been confirmed back in 1987, and which Antonin Scalia regularly made in justifying his own contempt for the 1973 decision. That's why everyone who cares about the reproductive freedom of American women needs to be aware of the present danger — as should Republicans, who may end up inadvertently reaping the political whirlwind with their votes to confirm a justice who could conceivably declare unconstitutional a procedure that fewer than one-fifth of Americans want to see banned outright.

6-29-18 Legal bid to throw out US sex trafficking law
Digital rights campaigners are starting a legal challenge to a US law that seeks to fight online sex trafficking. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says the "poorly written" law can hinder attempts to help victims and prosecute traffickers. The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (Fosta) also trespasses on free speech laws, claims the lawsuit. The EFF wants the law declared unconstitutional to stop it being enforced. In a blog announcing its legal action, the EFF said the law needed to be halted because, in its current form, it was harming many people working on behalf of sex workers and victims. In particular, said the EFF, the vague language in Fosta puts those who call for decriminalisation of sex work, or who try to establish greater recognition for prostitutes and others in the trade, at the risk of prosecution. In addition, it said, the law undermines established protections enjoyed by websites that host content posted by their users. Fosta "vastly magnifies" the risk these net firms bear if they choose to run ads or forums dedicated to these sexual professions, it said. Already net firms including Craigslist, Reddit and others have shut down forums and chat rooms dedicated to the buying and selling of sex for fear of prosecution. The law has also limited the work of organisations trying to help people who offer sexual services, said the EFF. One such was VerifyHim, which logged descriptions of abusive clients to help workers avoid them. The EFF's legal challenge is also being aided by the Internet Archive, Human Rights Watch and Woodhull Freedom Foundation. In addition, two individuals are backing it - one a spokesperson for sex workers and another a masseur who now finds it hard to advertise his non-sexual service.

6-28-18 Women fear abortion rights under threat
Women's reactions to news of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retirement were immediate, arguing whether or not this signals an end to legal abortion in the US. President Donald Trump promised during his campaign to deliver "pro-life" judges to the Supreme Court, and his second appointee is all but assured to solidify conservative power in the court. Observers of the court caution that this does not guarantee an overturn of the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision which legalised abortion across the US. But that did not stop an explosion of reaction on both sides of the issue, with social media users envisioning a "world without Roe". Lila Rose, the founder of anti-abortion nonprofit Live Action, tweeted, "This could be the end of the horrific, immoral and unjust 1973 Roe v Wade decision... it's time to undo this horror & enter an age of justice". Women on the other side of the issue appeared acutely concerned about what this will mean for them. "All of the women in my office have been crying on and off all day long," wrote another Twitter user. "This is where we are. Women crying for fear they will have no choice, no access to abortion at all." Alyssa Matromonaco, former White House deputy chief of staff for operations under the Obama administration, shared similar concerns. Daily Beast senior editor Erin Gloria Ryan did not mince words, calling Justice Kennedy's retirement a warning shot in "the coming war on women". "With one more Supreme Court vote, the conservative minority in this country will have the power to uphold laws designed to force pregnant women into motherhood." A majority conservative court could force women who are carrying nonviable fetuses to term and deliver dead tissue that had long been suspended in the bodies of their grieving mothers," she writes. "It could drive abortion - a practice as old as the human race - back underground to unsafe and unclean places." Robin Marty, a guest columnist for HuffPost, immediately started talking strategy in a piece titled, "What To Do When - Not If - Roe Vanishes".

6-28-18 What does Anthony Kennedy's retirement mean for Roe v. Wade?
The days of the Supreme Court protecting the reproductive freedom of American women are about to end. Anthony Kennedy's retirement from the Supreme Court will give the Republican Party a more right-wing five-person majority, with four of those five justices nominated by presidents who lost the popular vote. This is, to say the least, a distressing moment for American democracy. And while there will be many bad consequences of a Trumpified Supreme Court, one of the most stark will be the dismantling of a woman's right to choose. Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in America, has already been seriously undermined. The 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey allowed states broad leeway to regulate abortion, and the procedure is becoming increasingly inaccessible. But still, some protections for abortion remained. Casey did explicitly re-affirm Roe, and in the 2016 Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt case, Kennedy used his swing vote to side with the majority, voting to strike down Texas regulations that the court said unduly burdened women seeking abortions. With Kennedy's retirement, these protections are almost certainly about to vanish. The 2016 case, had it gone the other direction, would have provided a roadmap for states to make it nearly impossible for abortion clinics to operate. The three dissenters from that vote remain on the court. Neil Gorsuch, competing with Clarence Thomas for the title of the court's most radical conservative, will surely be the fourth. And any Trump nominee will agree with this contemporary Republican consensus. So, to put it bluntly, Roe v. Wade is dead. The days of the Supreme Court protecting the reproductive freedom of American women are about to end. The only question is how. It won't necessarily happen with a quick decision announcing explicitly that Roe is overruled. It will be chipped away at, slowly but surely, state by state.

6-28-18 Supreme Court: Why a fight over US abortion law now looms
Anthony Kennedy was a swing vote on the US Supreme Court, albeit one that frequently tilted to the right. Replacing him with a solidly conservative justice, however, could have a significant impact on US jurisprudence - and politics - for decades to come. Shortly after Mr Kennedy announced his retirement, Supreme Court analyst Jeffrey Toobin tweeted that "abortion will be illegal in 20 states in 18 months" - an indication that he believes Mr Trump's nominee will join a majority in reversing Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision legalising abortion throughout the US. Anti-abortion advocates have been trying to scale back the broad constitutional guarantees of the Roe decision in the decades since, and now - without Mr Kennedy on the court - they could be poised for a breakthrough. Back in 1992, when Mr Kennedy was just a junior justice, the court considered a series of Pennsylvania restrictions on abortion rights in a case, Planned Parenthood v Casey, that could have drastically curtailed what had been established as a constitutional right to abortion. Mr Kennedy reportedly initially sided with the more conservative justices but eventually co-wrote a three-justice plurality that upheld the "essential holding" of the landmark Roe decision legalising first-trimester abortions throughout the US. Since then, Mr Kennedy has frequently sided with abortion rights advocates in the court, most recently last year, when he joined the court's four liberal justices to strike down a Texas law stringently regulating abortion clinics and the doctors who perform the procedure. It may not be long before the Court considers the next big abortion case, as there is already an Iowa law prohibiting the procedure after a foetal heartbeat is detected - usually around six weeks of pregnancy. The measure is currently on hold pending a legal challenge from abortion rights groups. At the very least, a court without Mr Kennedy could uphold the constitutionality of state-level regulations that make abortion effectively - if not legally - unavailable in a number of states where only a handful of clinics currently operate at the moment. (Webmaster's comment: Abortions will soon be illegal. The spawn of a man must not be denied to bear fruit regardless of circumstances!)

6-27-18 Sixty-Two Percent View Planned Parenthood Favorably
Sixty-two percent of Americans hold a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, the powerful pro-choice group whose high-profile role in the abortion debate has thrust it into the news once again this month. President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders are attempting to cut off federal funding for the organization because of its role as a major provider of abortions across the nation. Supporters of Planned Parenthood contend that most of the federal funds currently provided are not spent on abortions, but rather, they are spent on other health services the organization provides. Opponents argue that the federal funding frees up the group's other sources of income to be used for abortions.

  • Abortion and health services provider battling Republicans for federal funding
  • Some subgroups that are mostly pro-life view the organization favorably
  • Its favorability is down from decades ago, but up slightly since 2015

6-24-18 Woman 'humiliated' by Walgreens over drugs to end pregnancy
An Arizona woman has said she was left "in tears and humiliated" after a staff member at US pharmacy chain Walgreens refused to give her prescription medication to end her pregnancy - even though her doctor had said she would ultimately have a miscarriage. Nicole Mone had discovered at a doctor's appointment on Tuesday that her baby was not developing normally. Knowing her two-month pregnancy would not run to term, she was given a choice to end it through a surgical procedure or prescription medication, and chose the latter. When she went to a Walgreens in the city of Peoria to get her prescription, she says a pharmacist refused to serve her on moral grounds - a stance which is within the company's rules. She told the BBC the staff member was "very short, not compassionate at all". Ms Mone, 35, shared a picture of a business card identifying the pharmacist on social media. "I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7-year-old and five customers standing behind, only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs," she wrote on Facebook and Instagram. "I get it, we all have our beliefs. But what he failed to understand is, this isn't the situation I had hoped for - this isn't something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over. He has no idea what it's like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so." Ms Mone wrote that she had suffered a previous miscarriage. She said her young son was left "trying to figure out what's going on, watching me get upset and trying to figure out why". "I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor," she wrote. (Webmaster's comment: To bad there is no hell because this pharmacist deserves to go there.)

6-15-18 Young Adults Remain Most Supportive of Abortion Rights
Across three indicators of Americans' views on abortion, young adults -- those aged 18 to 29, and to a lesser extent aged 30 to 49 -- express greater support for abortion rights than those aged 50 and older. This is most evident in adults' self-labeling on the issue, with majorities of those younger than 50 identifying as "pro-choice," while more than half of those in the older two groups identify as "pro-life." The 12-percentage point gap between the youngest and oldest Americans identifying as pro-choice (56% vs. 44%, respectively), is mirrored in a 12-point gap in the two groups' belief that abortion should be legal under any circumstances (37% vs. 25%) and a 13-point gap in those saying abortion is morally acceptable rather than morally wrong (51% vs. 38%).

  • Majority of adults aged 18 to 49 identify as "pro-choice"
  • Majority of adults aged 50+ identify as "pro-life"
  • Age differences in support for legality of abortion fairly consistent since the 1970s

6-14-18 Argentina steps closer to legalising abortion
Catholic Argentina's lower house has backed a bill legalising abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After a divisive debate lasting more than 22 hours, 129 members of the Chamber of Deputies voted in favour and 125 against while one abstained. The bill will now have to go to the Senate. President Mauricio Macri is strongly opposed to the bill but has said that he would not veto it if it was passed by both houses. Abortion is currently illegal in Argentina, except in cases of rape or when the life or health of the woman is at risk. Women seeking abortions also have to apply to a judge for permission, which critics say can unnecessarily delay the procedure. Up until three hours before the vote, those against the bill seemed to be in the majority until a lawmaker in the province of La Pampa, Sergio Ziliotto, announced on Twitter that he and two colleagues had changed their minds and would vote "yes". The announcement invigorated pro-choice lawmakers at a time when despondency was beginning to set in after the night-long debate. Supporters of the bill, many of whom had spent the entire night demonstrating outside of the Congress building in Buenos Aires, cheered and hugged when the result of the vote was announced. Many also took to social media to celebrate with #AbortoSeraLey (#AbortionWillBeLaw), a hashtag that is trending on Twitter in Argentina. Among those celebrating the vote as a "historic step" was the secretary general of human rights group Amnesty International, Salil Shetty.

6-14-18 Men, Women Generally Hold Similar Abortion Attitudes
Many U.S. political leaders may think of abortion as a key "women's issue," but it is not an issue about which women have substantially different attitudes than men. A Gallup analysis shows that differences in views on the legality of abortion between men and women have been relatively narrow for decades, going back to the 1970s. Additionally, there are only slight differences in men's and women's descriptions of themselves as pro-choice or pro-life.

  • 19% of both men and women say abortion should be totally illegal
  • 31% of women and 26% of men want abortion to be totally legal
  • 42% of female college graduates want abortion to be totally legal

6-13-18 Above All Issues, Abortion Divides Liberals, Conservatives
Americans' Views on Social Issues: Socially Liberal-33%, Socially conservative-33%. Americans who say they hold liberal views on social issues differ markedly from social conservatives on the morality of most moral issues, with the largest gap in opinions on abortion. The two groups also diverge greatly on gay/lesbian relations, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between teenagers and euthanasia. Liberals are much more likely than conservatives to view each as morally acceptable. Over the past decade, Americans have become more likely to identify as liberal on social issues, and as a result, they have achieved parity with social conservatives. This polarization is seen in the views of both groups across a wide range of issues, particularly abortion and gay/lesbian relations. As the midterm election campaigns heat up, candidates will have to weigh the pros and cons of focusing on the most divisive issues.

  • Liberals and conservatives differ the most in their views of abortion
  • Of 21 issues, both groups most likely to rank birth control as morally acceptable
  • Liberals and conservatives both say extramarital affairs least acceptable

6-13-18 Argentina lawmakers gather for key abortion vote
Lawmakers in Argentina are due to vote on a draft bill that would allow women to have abortions in the first 14 weeks of their pregnancies. The bill has proven highly divisive and deputies have been split almost evenly in the run-up to the lower house vote, with more than a dozen still undecided. If approved, the bill will still have to go to the Senate. Abortion is currently illegal except in cases of rape or when the life or health of the woman is at risk. Women seeking abortions also have to apply to a judge for permission, which critics say can unnecessarily delay the procedure. President Mauricio Macri has asked members of the chamber of deputies to vote according to their conscience. Although Mr Macri strongly opposes the bill, he said he would not veto it if it were passed by Congress. that country's total ban on abortions. Both supporters and opponents of decriminalising abortion have gathered on opposite sides of the Congress building in Buenos Aires in an effort to sway undecided lawmakers. The momentum in favour of a change in the law has grown over the past months and was further boosted by the overwhelming vote for overturning the abortion ban in Ireland. There have been huge marches backing the bill led by #NiUnaMenos (#NotOneLess), a movement first created to fight violence against women but which has since expanded across much of Latin America to stand up for women's rights. Tens of thousands of people have shown their support by wearing green handkerchiefs but there has also been stiff opposition led by the Catholic Church.

6-12-18 Public Supported Therapeutic Abortion in 1962
In 1962, when a pregnant Arizona woman discovered that a sleeping pill she had been taking contained thalidomide, a drug known in the U.S. to cause birth defects, she tried unsuccessfully to obtain a legal abortion in the U.S. Ultimately, she chose to travel to Sweden, where she had an abortion. An August 1962 Gallup poll -- the first poll dealing with abortion in Gallup's history -- showed that her decision was supported by 52% of Americans who said it was the right thing to do, but 32% thought it was the wrong decision. Sherri Finkbine, the woman at the center of this highly publicized, controversial case, was a mother of four and the host of an Arizona children's television show when she took the pills her husband had obtained while traveling in Europe. Once she realized that the medication was potentially harmful to her unborn baby, she attempted to have an abortion locally. But abortion was illegal in the U.S. with the exception of limited circumstances in which the mother's life was in danger. Men's and women's views did not differ much from each other, but men were slightly more likely than women to say Finkbine did the right thing, 54% to 50%, respectively.

6-11-18 U.S. Abortion Attitudes Remain Closely Divided
Americans' views on the abortion issue continue to be closely divided. Currently, as many Americans personally identify as "pro-choice" on the issue as say they are "pro-life." The latest results were measured May 1-10 in Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll. They come as the issue has received renewed attention at the state level, with Iowa recently passing a restrictive law that bans nearly all abortions once a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which commonly occurs early in a pregnancy. A legal challenge to that law has put its planned July 1 implementation on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court also recently allowed an Arkansas ban on abortion pills to stand. Although there has been some variation in past years, Americans have typically been closely split on whether they consider themselves pro-choice or pro-life, particularly since 2000, when the averages have been 47% pro-choice and 46% pro-life. During the 1990s -- when Gallup first asked the question -- more Americans personally identified as pro-choice than as pro-life by 51% to 40%, on average.

  • 48% identify as pro-choice, 48% as pro-life
  • Half continue to say abortion should be legal in some circumstances
  • Slightly more say it is morally wrong than morally acceptable

6-6-18 Inside the secret world of Brazil's WhatsApp abortions
In Brazil, where abortion is a crime, a WhatsApp group is offering a secret route for women who want to end a pregnancy. The BBC has investigated how the group works for months. BBC 100 Women has been investigating the modern face of the "DIY abortion", with global online searches for abortion pills more than doubling over the last decade.

6-3-18 Ireland: An overwhelming vote to overturn abortion ban
In the end, it wasn’t even close, said Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. Ireland has voted in a landslide, 66.4 percent to 33.6 percent, to legalize abortion. Every county, save for northernmost Donegal, voted Yes to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution—which effectively banned terminations—as did clear majorities of rural and urban voters, the middle-aged and the young, men and women. The over-65s were the only age group overall that voted to keep the amendment. Ireland’s government will soon submit a bill to legalize abortion in the first trimester. Never again will Irish women be “made to feel small, contemptible, shameful, unwanted” for asserting their basic health-care rights, and never will they be forced to travel abroad to receive an abortion. Young voters drove this movement, said Shona Murray in the Sunday Independent. The 2012 death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar from septicemia—which the Indian dentist contracted after a Galway hospital denied her an abortion during a miscarriage—spurred them to demand a referendum. “I was 13 when Savita died,” said Dublin resident Cara Daniel. “It was a wake-up call that I didn’t want to live in a country that allowed this.” And with absentee voting banned in most cases, thousands of young expats—most of them women—returned to Ireland to cast ballots and were greeted by cheering crowds at ports and airports. The vote’s result is a final rebuke of the Catholic Church, said Piaras Mac Éinrí in The Irish Times. Its power has been corroded by the constant drip of shocking rev elations about its “disgraceful history of incarceration, ill-treatment, abuse, cover-ups, and denials.” We have learned that priests violated countless children, that girls were held as slaves in the Magdalene Laundries, that hundreds of dead babies were buried at church-run orphanages. Is it any wonder the Irish have rejected the church “as a moral arbiter”?

5-29-18 Trump's sneak attack on reproductive rights
Even the most pro-choice Americans who insist that women should have unfettered control over their bodies might be willing to concede that it is not incumbent on the government to actually pay for their abortions. So is it really so terrible that President Trump is trying to prevent Planned Parenthood from using federal dollars to perform abortions? Yes — because he wants to control the organization, not just defund its abortion services. Planned Parenthood has been in the crosshairs of pro-life conservatives because it is the nation's largest abortion provider — although that's only a part of what it does. In fact, it is a full-service family planning nonprofit that offers a range of health-care services to women that include prenatal care, cancer detection, screening for sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception. But its large abortion business — it performs about 330,000, or 40 percent of total abortions, each year — has invited constant attacks from conservatives. These attacks reached a fevered pitch a few years ago after the "expose" by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion outfit, which tried to cast Planned Parenthood as a soulless organization that eagerly and actively harvested fetal organs for sale. President Trump campaigned on a promise to defund Planned Parenthood and, true to his word, last week he announced a plan to do just that. Planned Parenthood has two sources of federal funding that add up to about 40 percent of its $1.3 billion budget: Medicaid and Title X, a 1970s federal program that subsidizes family planning services for low-income women. It gets roughly $430 million from Medicaid and about $70 million from Title X. Federal law already bars the organization from diverting any of its government money toward abortion.

5-28-18 Savita Halappanavar's parents hail Irish abortion vote
Her story was one that galvanised a movement; her face became a symbol of that movement. Savita Halappanavar died from infection after miscarrying her first child in an Irish hospital in October 2012. Her family said she pleaded for a termination during the miscarriage, but medical staff refused her requests because there was still a foetal heartbeat. Mrs Halappanavar's death caused international controversy and sparked a campaign to have Ireland's abortion law liberalised. Her parents have now said she will "rest in peace" after Irish voters backed a referendum to overturn the country's ban on abortion. The death of the 31-year-old dentist, who was originally from India, became a catalyst for groundbreaking social change in Ireland. Mrs Halappanavar was 17-weeks pregnant with her first child when she was admitted to University Hospital in Galway. Now, almost six years on from her unexpected death, voters have agreed to remove the Republic of Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion and there have been calls to name the new legislation Savita's Law. At her home in Belgaum, southwest India, Savita's mother described the referendum result as a "victory" on behalf of her late daughter.

5-26-18 Irish abortion result a seismic shift
In three months time, Pope Francis will travel to Ireland and find a country undoing part of the legacy of a previous papal visit. In 1983, four years after the triumphal visit of Pope John Paul II, the Irish people put the Eighth Amendment into their constitution. The amendment gave equal rights to life to both the mother and the unborn. Friday's vote, which paves the way for parliamentarians to liberalise abortion law, represents a seismic shift. It also represents another sign of the societal change that has taken place in the Republic, coming just three years after the country officially passed the same sex marriage referendum with 62% in favour. The Republic of Ireland, in the words of Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, will no longer export its abortion problem to Britain or import its solution. It is estimated that nine women travel to Great Britain every day for terminations, while four women buy abortion pills over the internet without medical supervision, risking a jail term of up to 14 years. The hopes of 1983 that Ireland could become a beacon light in the fight against abortion were never realised. In the intervening years, more than 170,000 Irish women have left the state to end their pregnancies. While hard cases may make for bad law, over the years they certainly changed public opinion on this most controversial and sensitive of issues. Controversial cases have included rape and incest, in which victims were told they were not entitled to a legal termination. And many women who were given a diagnosis of fatal foetal abnormality, where doctors believe the unborn will not survive outside the womb, have shared their stories of travelling to Britain to end their pregnancies.

5-26-18 Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban
The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%. A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side. Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman's life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality. The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced. The declaration was made at Dublin Castle at 18:13 local time. The only constituency to vote against repealing the Eighth amendment was Donegal, with 51.9% voting against the change. A vote in favour of repeal paves the way for the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to legislate for change which would see the introduction of a much more liberal regime. In 2015 the country voted overwhelmingly to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum. Reacting to the result, the taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar, who campaigned in favour of liberalisation, said it was "a historic day for Ireland," and that a "quiet revolution" had taken place. Mr Varadkar told crowds at Dublin Castle the result showed the Irish public "trust and respect women to make their own decision and choices." He added: "It's also a day when we say no more. No more to doctors telling their patients there's nothing can be done for them in their own country, no more lonely journeys across the Irish Sea, no more stigma as the veil of secrecy is lifted and no more isolation as the burden of shame is gone."

5-26-18 Ireland abortion referendum: PM hails 'quiet revolution'
The Irish prime minister has hailed his country's "quiet revolution" as early results point to a "resounding" vote for overturning the abortion ban. Leo Varadkar was speaking after exit polls suggested a landslide vote in favour of reforming the law. "The people have spoken. They have said we need a modern constitution for a modern country," he said. Exit polls suggest about 69% voted to repeal a part of the constitution that effectively bans terminations. Mr Varadkar, who campaigned in favour of liberalisation, said: "What we've seen is the culmination of a quiet revolution that's been taking place in Ireland over the past 20 years." The taoiseach (prime minister) added that Irish voters "trust and respect women to make the right choices and decisions about their own healthcare". Those taking part in Friday's referendum were asked whether they wanted to repeal or retain a part of the constitution known as the Eighth Amendment, which says an unborn child has the same right to life as a pregnant woman. A vote in favour of repeal paves the way for the Dáil (Irish Parliament) to legislate for change which would see the introduction of a much more liberal regime. Mr Varadkar said he hoped to have a new abortion law enacted by the end of this year.

5-24-18 Abortion battle
The Trump administration moved this week to cut off federal funds from health clinics that perform abortions or provide referrals to abortion clinics, a move that would deprive Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers of tens of millions of dollars a year. The White House’s proposal would make such clinics ineligible for federal Title X funding, which distributes about $260 million annually to health centers so that they can offer basic services such as birth control, pregnancy tests, gynecological exams, and screenings for cancer and STDs. Clinics that receive grants are currently allowed to provide abortion services and referrals using nonfederal funds. The new rule would create a “bright line” separating clinics that receive federal funding from those that provide abortion services. More than a third of the 4 million patients who receive Title X care are treated through Planned Parenthood, which would lose as much as $60 million a year under the new rule.

5-24-18 Irish abortion referendum: The people travelling #HomeToVote
Irish voters from around the world are returning to cast their ballots in Friday's referendum on whether or not to repeal the country's Eighth Amendment. That clause in the Irish constitution in effect outlaws abortion by giving equal rights to the unborn. The #HomeToVote hashtag has seen a flurry of activity in recent days, as men and women share their journeys home. From car shares, to offers of beds for the night, the movement has been propelled by social media. A similar movement also took off ahead of the 2015 vote that legalised same-sex marriage. People on both sides of the argument are travelling back to vote, but the movement has been spearheaded by the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign - a pro-choice group that believes some 40,000 people who recently left Ireland could be eligible to vote. The Eighth Amendment came into being after a 1983 referendum, so no-one under the age of 54 has voted on this before. For many, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have their say on Ireland's abortion laws. Karen Fahy, 26, and 24-year-old Maria Mcentee are going back from London to vote against the change. They argue that young women opposed to abortion have been stigmatised for their views in the run-up to the referendum and believe many others like them have kept their opinions quiet. "A lot of people don't want to get involved in the polarising debates online," Maria says. "But you can kind of infer who is voting no, because they'll be the people who don't have repeal stickers on their picture or post things about repeal." The 24-year-old said she had always been "a bit indifferent" to the abortion issue until she saw a campaign video showing a procedure. Currently living in the UK where abortion is legal (except in Northern Ireland), Karen says she has concerns about the proposal presenting abortion as "the first and only choice" for women with unplanned pregnancies. "I don't want to see that coming to Ireland, and I think we can do a lot better," she says. "We should be investing and providing support for women in crisis pregnancies." "In those very difficult situations when there's a very severe disability, we should provide more child benefit and support women in education." Abortion is only currently allowed in Ireland when the woman's life is at risk, and not in cases of rape, incest or foetal-fatal abnormality (FFA).

5-24-18 Italy student flies home from Pakistan after forced abortion
A student has returned to Italy after accusing her family in Pakistan of luring her home to terminate her pregnancy. The 19-year-old, named Farah, had been studying in Verona when she became pregnant a few months ago. Her family took her back to Pakistan in February and later she appealed to friends for help, saying her baby had been aborted against her will. She was finally rescued by Pakistani police in Islamabad last week. She arrived at Milan's Malpensa airport, having been looked after for several days at the Italian ambassador's residence in the Pakistani capital. She is due to discuss her ordeal with police in Verona. "They sedated me, tied me to a bed and forced me to have an abortion," said Farah of her family, in one of the messages published by Italian media. Farah's story emerged weeks after the death of an Italian woman in Pakistan amid reports that she may have been murdered by relatives in an honour killing. Friends in the city of Brescia, to the west of Verona, said Sana Cheema, 26, had wanted to marry a Pakistani-Italian man in Italy despite opposition from her family. "Farah has finally returned to Italy and is now in a safe place," said Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, who praised the collaboration of the Pakistani authorities in securing her safety.

5-18-18 Trump to announce new federal funding curbs on US abortion clinics
The Trump administration is expected to announce that organisations that offer or mention abortion to their patients will lose federal funding. One such organisation, Planned Parenthood, said the proposal was "dangerous" and "outrageous" and would "have devastating consequences". Anti-abortion activists thanked US President Donald Trump for "delivering on a key promise". Anonymous officials have told reporters the policy will be announced later. Clinics that receive federal money from a family planning programme known as Title X will be banned from referring clients for abortion, discussing abortion with patients, or sharing space with abortion providers. If they do so, their funding will be withdrawn. The policy shift mirrors the Mexico City Policy, one of the first actions of the Trump administration, under which organisations abroad that receive US aid for family planning may not perform abortions, even with other funding. Critics called that policy the "global gag law" because organisations felt they could not offer women full advice on family planning - they are calling this the "domestic gag law". Politically, it plants the abortion question in the middle of debates ahead of November's midterm elections. (Webmaster's comment: Trumps white male supremacists movement begins to assert dictorial powers over women again as they have in the past. It's back to back alley abortions.)

5-18-18 On the battle lines over US abortion
Organisations that offer or mention abortion to their patients will lose federal funding under new plans being drawn up by President Trump's team. One clinic and its foes consider what's next in America's polarised abortion debate. Ten women walk along a busy, fluorescent-lit corridor. Undressed from the waist down, they wear big white sheets knotted over their hips, as they make their way to the "relaxation room", a windowless space, equipped with large sofas and a TV. There they wait for their turn to have an abortion. This is Hope Medical Group, a small abortion clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, serving a 200-mile radius through rural Louisiana, neighbouring Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Appointments fill up quickly for mainly first-trimester abortions. Thirty women are scheduled to come in today - and only one fails to show up. "You think this is busy? Wait to see what Saturdays are like," says Kathaleen Pittman, the clinic's administrator. Pittman says she has trouble sleeping at night, but its not because of a guilty conscience. "Hell no, it's because I'm worried about how we can take care of patients with all these new rules they're trying to impose," the 60-year-old Louisiana native says. When Pittman joined Hope in the 1980s, things were different. Back then there were 11 abortion providers across the state. Now there are three to serve 10,000 women, Pittman estimates. The issue is high on the political agenda of the federal government too. In his first year as president, Donald Trump appointed a conservative Supreme Court justice and cut federal aid to international groups that advise on pregnancy termination. And anti-abortion activists have also become louder since the 2016 election. "Let me tell you, things aren't getting any better," Pittman says.

5-18-18 Ireland's time of reckoning
Abortion has always been against the law in Ireland. But that might be about to change. Voters are deciding whether to repeal the controversial Eighth Amendment of the republic’s constitution. It’s the culmination of a decades-long battle. Every day, Amy Dunne had to walk past protesters shouting and jostling for position outside the High Court in Dublin. She was then just 17 and known in the court case and the media only as Miss D. I remember people protesting over me, praying for me, all the time” Her face had to be blurred in newspapers and on television, but there was still a constant click of camera shutters as she arrived. “I remember people protesting over me, praying for me, all the time,” she recalls. The placards outside read “Abortion is forever” and “She’s a child, not a choice”. There were blown-up pictures of a foetus in the womb. It was 2007. Just a few months before the court case, Amy had been looking forward to finishing school and starting a career. She wanted to be an actor, or perhaps a chef. Instead, the most intimate details of her life became a national topic of conversation. Miss D became - without choosing to - another milestone in Ireland’s long battle over whether it should allow abortion. “I felt like I was committing a crime. I was being made to believe… that I was committing a crime.” Repealing the Eighth Amendment - brought in in 1983 - will let the law be changed to allow for abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormality and where the physical or mental health of the mother is in danger. If the amendment is repealed, the government’s proposed new law would also bring in abortion - effectively “on demand” - up to the 12th week of a pregnancy.

5-16-18 Keep the facts front and centre in Ireland’s abortion debate
Research can offer plenty of evidence to back the case for relaxing Ireland’s near total abortion ban in the country’s upcoming referendum, says Lara Williams. IRELAND is heading towards what may well be a historic moment, with its 25 May referendum on whether to relax the country’s near total ban on abortion. Voters are being asked if they want to repeal a constitutional clause – the Eighth Amendment – voted into law by a referendum in 1983. It makes having an abortion, other than when the woman’s life is at risk, a crime punishable by up to 14 years in jail. It is one of the world’s most prohibitive such laws, and women who are made pregnant by rape or incest, or whose health is at risk but that risk isn’t deemed immediately life-threatening, are still liable for prosecution. Shockingly, a woman who seeks an abortion after rape could face a longer jail term than her rapist. In addition, women carrying a fetus that is unlikely to survive must see the pregnancy to term – a traumatising experience. The options for ending a pregnancy are either travelling abroad, which is legal but costly, or an illegal, and hence potentially dangerous, abortion in Ireland. A heated debate has been taking place, riddled with equivocal statements, misinformation, myth-making and obfuscation that confuses the issue. But from a scientific point of view, it is clear the evidence supports the case for more relaxed rules and addresses some of the key claims of those campaigning against this. Those claims include the issue of fetal pain. A 2005 review in US medical journal JAMA rounded up available studies on this question and concluded that a fetus is unlikely to experience pain before the third trimester.

5-15-18 Italy anti-abortion posters spark outcry in Rome
"Abortion is the prime cause of femicide in the world," declare the black-and-white posters that have appeared in several areas of Rome. The Stop Abortion campaign is being run by a Spanish-based group that also opposes same-sex marriage. But the campaign has provoked widespread anger and led to appeals to the mayor to get the posters removed. One feminist group condemned the posters as "disgraceful" while others objected to the use of a word often used for the killing of women by men. Italy is about to mark 40 years since abortion was made legal. The Madrid-based CitizenGo group behind the posters timed the campaign to coincide with the 22 May anniversary of Italy's Law 194, as well as a "march for life" in the centre of Rome on Saturday. In a series of messages on social media, it said that after 40 years the law had failed and that abortion was often used to suppress women, leaving "millions of babies killed and women injured". This is not the first time anti-abortion groups have highlighted the impending anniversary of the law. Only a month ago Rome authorities removed a giant poster of a foetus that bore the slogan: "You're here because your mum didn't abort you." Among those protesting against the new campaign was local authority leader Francesca Del Bello, who said the posters were "offensive to every woman, especially for those who had the difficult experience of abortion or violence". Writer and broadcaster Selvaggia Lucarelli went on Twitter to say: "How sad to use the term 'femicide' in a vile way with the clear aim of attracting attention to a campaign against abortion." Feminist group Facebook Rebel Network called on Mayor Virginia Raggi to remove the posters immediately. However, campaigners hit back saying that all those who had insulted the CitizenGo group had been able to do so only because they had not been aborted themselves. Their campaign would soon spread to other cities, they said.

5-9-18 Google bans abortion poll ads in Ireland
Google will ban all advertisements relating to Republic of Ireland's forthcoming referendum on abortion, which takes place on 25 May. On Tuesday, Facebook started to block ads relating to the referendum that did not originate from advertisers inside Ireland. However, Google said all ads relating to the vote would be blocked. Google's ads appear on millions of websites, including its video-sharing platform YouTube. "Following our update around election integrity efforts globally, we have decided to pause all ads related to the Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment," the company said in a statement. Voters will decide whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Republic of Ireland's constitution, which states "the right to life of the unborn". At present, the country has a near-total ban on abortion, with terminations very rarely allowed. (Webmaster's comment: Blatant censorship by the rich and powerful!)

5-2-18 Iowa approves 'most restrictive abortion bill in US'
The US state of Iowa has approved an abortion law banning most abortions once a foetal heartbeat is detected. Republican lawmakers passed the bill in back-to-back votes, sending it to the governor's desk to sign into law. If it comes into effect the bill will ban most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and rights groups say it will be the country's most restrictive. Critics argue it will make having an abortion illegal before most women even realise they are pregnant. Iowa's Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has not said if she will sign the bill. Last year, Iowa Republicans successfully banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The so-called "heartbeat" bill would require any woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound to screen for a foetal heartbeat. If one is detected, she will be barred from obtaining a termination. Some exceptions have been introduced - in cases of rape and incest, where it has been reported to authorities, and to save the woman's life. "We're in the majority for a reason and that includes advancing the pro-life cause," Republican Representative Shannon Lundgren told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. "We are alive when our hearts start beating and our life is over when it stops," Dawn Pettengil, another Republican Representative from Iowa, told CBS News. (Webmaster's comment: Iowa Republicans hate women's rights. Women must serve as breed stock for male Republican sperm.)

5-2-18 The past and future of US abortion debate
As the Supreme Court hears arguments on another abortion case, two factions of the debate look back on how they got here and what they expect in the future. Who cares about the exercise routine of an 84-year-old? Thousands do, when that octogenarian is Ruth Bader Ginsburg - tiny, feisty, and fit. For liberal Americans, she's a vital progressive voice on the nine-member US Supreme Court. And to put it bluntly, they're invested in her staying alive. Because if she goes, her replacement will be named by President Trump. Which is why you can buy "The RBG workout" which promises to have you "getting fit in no time" with a workout "from planks to squats to full push-ups - with four-colour illustrations of the justice in her workout gear". You can even count those push-ups while wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Notorious RBG". For decades the US Supreme Court - America's highest legal authority - has been finely politically balanced. "The Nine" include four liberal voices, four conservatives, and one swing vote. Donald Trump has already nominated one justice, for a vacancy held open for a year by Republicans in Congress. And it's simply stating the mathematically obvious that with three of The Nine in their 80s this year, he may have another space - or two - to fill. And the balance on the court matters hugely. What the Supreme Court decides can change everyday life in America for decades. As it has done with abortion. It's 45 years since the court published the Roe v Wade ruling which gave pregnant women in America the right to choose abortion, up until the foetus was viable. There were emergency wards in Texas hospitals where women would be brought in bleeding from back-street abortions or attempts to self-abort. They'd go out traumatised, she says. Often infertile. Or they'd die.

4-19-18 Abortion and free speech: The Atlantic ’s firing of Williamson
“Well, that didn’t take very long,” said Warren Henry in TheFederalist.com. Two weeks after hiring conservative columnist Kevin Williamson to join The Atlantic, the venerable, left-leaning journal of culture and politics, editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg fired the pro-life writer for “callous and violent” comments he’s made about abortion. In a 2014 tweet, Williamson argued that abortion is murder and should be treated “like a regular homicide”—punishable by the death penalty, preferably by “hanging.” When he first hired the talented and provocative Williamson, Goldberg dismissed that tweet as a single bad moment until he discovered the writer had repeated the hanging comment in a podcast. Suddenly, Williamson’s views became “contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate,” and Williamson was out of a job. This is “more than mere inside-baseball media drama,” said David French in NationalReview.com. “The cowardly firing of Kevin Williamson” came after an online mob of outraged leftists demanded that Goldberg purge this “unacceptable” voice from his roster of highly opinionated columnists. Liberals like to talk of tolerance and inclusion, but they continue their “steady, inexorable division of America into the tolerable and the intolerable.” “This is all nonsense,” said Osita Nwanevu in Slate.com. Williamson wasn’t fired for being pro-life—a position shared by many conservative writers at “centrist and center-left publications.” He was fired because he expressed enthusiasm for the notion that the 1 in 4 American women who’ve had an abortion deserve to die. Is it really “liberal bias” to feel that this sentiment has no place in a magazine dedicated to civil, reasoned discourse? The Atlantic knew it was hiring a pro-life conservative, said Kirsten Powers in USA Today. What got Williamson rightly fired were his “callous and violent” fantasies about making women suffer. Turning him into “a free speech martyr” is an affront to “the cause of intellectual diversity and free speech.”

4-19-18 Abortion ban has a huge loophole
The “sneering gladiators of point-and-shame Catholicism” who are battling to save Ireland’s abortion ban are hypocrites, said Gene Kerrigan. There’s a referendum next month on overturning the eighth amendment to the constitution, added in 1983, which outlaws abortion on Irish soil. But what about the 13th and 14th amendments? Those were added after a 1991 case when the eighth was used to stop a 14-year-old rape victim from traveling to England to seek an abortion. The world was aghast at the injunction, and an embarrassed Irish public quickly passed two more amendments, which protected the right to travel abroad for an abortion and the right to get infor mation about how to do so. Ireland is now the only country “in which the constitution has been amended to protect and ensure the outsourcing of abortion to a neighboring country.” But the anti-abortion camp isn’t seeking to overturn those amendments, because then we’d have to carry out pregnancy tests at the airport, which would kill tourism. The pro-life crowd merely wants to protect the eighth, so it can pretend that Ireland is a “beacon of Catholicism.” It makes no sense to “speak of the murder of children” while defending the right of women to take a two-hour ferry trip to England for that purpose. Why not just “face reality, like the rest of the world?”

4-9-18 World’s first over-the-phone abortion service hailed a success
An over-the-phone abortion service to end unwanted pregnancies in their early stages – operating in Australia - has been found to be safe and effective. An over-the-phone abortion service to end unwanted pregnancies in their early stages in Australia has been found to be safe, effective and convenient. Australia became the first country where women can legally access abortion pills without having to see a medical professional in person in 2015. Instead, women can order the pills over the phone from a private provider, called the Tabbot Foundation. A study of the first 1000 women who used the service shows that over 95 per cent had an abortion at home with no complications, and did not need to see a doctor afterwards. Over 97 per cent said they were highly satisfied with the service. Two-thirds of Tabbot’s clients were from rural areas, where abortions have traditionally been difficult to access. “It means they don’t have to travel long distances or face possible judgement from the one doctor or pharmacist in their town,” says Paul Hyland, the gynaecologist who set up the foundation. But Hyland says the service may benefit women in urban areas too, because it means they can avoid any protestors outside abortion clinics. Tabbot currently provides abortions to about 50 women a week and the demand is steadily increasing, he says. When a woman requests abortion pills, she is first called by a doctor from the Tabbot Foundation to rule out any medical conditions that might make the procedure unsafe. They also organise a blood test and ultrasound scan at a local provider to confirm she is less than nine weeks pregnant, because one of the drugs involved carries a higher risk of complications after this time. Once the doctor gives the go-ahead, a package is mailed to the woman with the abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol, as well as painkillers, antibiotics and anti-nausea medication. A nurse calls her after the package has arrived to explain how to take the drugs and calls her a set number of hours afterwards to check she is OK. A 24-hour hotline provides additional support if needed. The cost of the service is A$250, which is half that of the up-front cost of an equivalent abortion at a private bricks-and-mortar clinic in Australia.

3-23-18 Poland abortion: Protests against bill imposing new limits
Major street protests are expected across cities in Poland against plans to further tighten the abortion laws, already one of Europe's strictest. A bill in parliament seeks to ban abortions in cases of foetal abnormality, one of the few exceptions allowed under the current law. Anti-abortion groups say many terminations involve foetuses diagnosed with Down's Syndrome. Pro-choice groups say more women will be forced into illegal terminations. Abortion is already mostly banned. The only exceptions are a severe and irreversible damage to the foetus, a serious threat to the mother's health, or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Estimates say there are already far more illegal abortions than legal ones in Poland - between 10,000 and 150,000, compared with about 1,000 or 2,000 legal terminations. Access to contraception is also tight in this staunchly Catholic nation - the only over-the-counter contraception available is the condom. Opposition parties and pro-choice campaigners who say women's health and lives will be put at risk. "This bill would further hinder women, particularly those from low-income and rural communities, from accessing safe abortion care," a letter from more than 200 groups said. The Council of Europe has warned that the bill runs counter to Poland's human rights commitments and urged lawmakers to reject it. "Preventing women from accessing safe and legal abortion care jeopardises their human rights," the council's human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, said. Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of the capital, Warsaw, and other cities, against the bill, following smaller demonstrations earlier this week.

3-21-18 Mississippi's strict abortion law temporarily blocked
A US judge has temporarily blocked a Mississippi state law enacting the tightest restrictions on abortion in the country a day after it was signed. Judge Carlton Reeves delayed the bill, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks, from taking effect for 10 days while he hears more arguments. Critics say the ban, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, is unconstitutional. Mississippi previously banned abortions from 20 weeks. Mr Reeves wrote that the new law "threatens immediate, irreparable harm to Mississippians' abilities to control their 'destiny and... body'". "A brief delay in enforcing a law of dubious constitutionality does not outweigh that harm, and in fact serves the public's interest in preserving the freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution," the judge wrote. The measure was enacted on Monday by Republican Governor Phil Bryant, who says he wants the southern state to be "the safest place in America for an unborn child". (Webmaster's comment: The safest place to rape women and to rape your children he means!) He said the judges' ruling to delay the new abortion law was disappointing. "House Bill 1510 protects maternal health and will further our efforts to make Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child," Mr Bryant said in a public statement. "We are confident in its constitutionality and look forward to vigorously defending it." The Center for Reproductive Rights said it had filed a lawsuit to block the new law on behalf of the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women's Health Organization. The judge said the new 15-week law goes against the medical consensus about when the foetus becomes vital. The only exemptions to the 15-week rule are in cases where there is a foetal abnormality that is "incompatible with life", or the mother's life is in danger.In 2014 federal judges ruled that attempts for six- and 12-week bans in North Dakota and Arkansas were unconstitutional, and struck them down. President Donald Trump has supported a proposed federal ban on abortions for 20 weeks after fertilisation, but the bill was blocked in the US Senate in January.

3-21-18 The Pink House: The last abortion clinic in Mississippi
The US state of Mississippi has introduced the toughest abortion laws in the country, banning abortions after 15 weeks. The Pink House is the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, and protests are held outside daily. Description

3-21-18 Down’s syndrome has become the newest front in the abortion wars
Abortions on the basis of disability are back in the spotlight thanks to a new test for Down's syndrome during pregnancy and law changes around the world. OFFERING a test for Down’s syndrome is a routine part of maternity care in much of the world. Most women who get a positive result choose to have an abortion, leading to growing objections to the tests over the past few years. Campaigners are using terms like eradication, eugenics and even genocide. “My life is worth living,” Frank Stephens, who has Down’s syndrome, told a US congressional hearing in October. “Is there really no place for us in the world?” Such emotive language lays bare the ethical minefield inherent in prenatal screening. In large parts of the West, a woman has a legal right to abortion up to certain time limits. And in all other fields of medicine, more information is normally seen as a good thing. Yet many recoil from the idea of erasing a group of people because of a disability. Is there any way to reconcile these opposing values? Down’s syndrome arises when a large chunk of DNA is duplicated, derailing fetal development. As well as the characteristic facial features, people with Down’s syndrome have some degree of learning disability and a higher chance of heart problems and other medical conditions. The ability to test for this extra DNA in pregnancy has meant that Down’s increasingly features in debates over abortion. In the US, North Dakota has made it illegal for doctors to end a pregnancy because of a Down’s diagnosis. Similar laws were passed in Louisiana and Indiana before being blocked by courts. Ohio’s version was set to come into force this week but has also been blocked, while lawmakers in Utah are considering a bill. (Webmaster's comment: Forcing women to have defective children. NO ONE has the right to do that!)

3-19-18 Mississippi passes strictest abortion law
Mississippi's governor has just signed into law the tightest abortion restrictions in the US. The bill bans most abortions after 15 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. The only exemptions are in cases where there is a foetal abnormality that is "incompatible with life", or the mother's life is in danger. Mississippi previously banned abortions from 20 weeks. Critics say the new law is unconstitutional. The measure was enacted on Monday by Republican Governor Phil Bryant, who says he wants the southern state to be "the safest place in America for an unborn child". The Center for Reproductive Rights said it had filed a lawsuit to block the new law on behalf of the only abortion clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women's Health Organization. Diane Derzis, who runs that clinic, said earlier this month that anti-abortion activists were seeking to undermine Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court case which legalised abortion. Trump vows abortion opposition. Trump: from pro-choice to pro-prison. (Webmaster's comment: Once impregnated a women is to be treated as breed stock who must surrender her rights to the will of others.)

3-15-18 Down syndrome: The abortion question
Down syndrome is now “front and center” in the national debate over abortion, said Ariana Eunjung Cha in WashingtonPost.com. Appalled by the 67 percent termination rate among women whose fetus has Down syndrome, pro-life activists have passed or introduced legislation to ban abortion for “solely” that reason in five states: Utah, North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana. The issue has become more fraught because of a new, noninvasive blood test on a pregnant woman that can detect the fetal chromosomal abnormality that causes the developmental disorder, making it easier to detect. It is “simply intolerable that so many joyous lives are being snuffed out,” said Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post. People with Down syndrome are often unusually happy, and their families rarely regret having them. Yet across the Western world, abortion rates for Down babies are climbing toward 100 percent. Iceland last year bragged it was on the verge of “eradicating” Down syndrome. In reality, Iceland “is not eliminating Down syndrome; it is eliminating people with Down syndrome.”

3-15-18 Abortion sentences commuted
Two Salvadoran women serving 30-year sentences for allegedly having abortions have been released from prison in recent weeks after the country’s supreme court ruled that their sentences were disproportionate. Teodora del Carmen Vásquez, 34, was freed in February after serving 11 years, while Maira Verónica Figueroa Marroquín, 34, was released last week after serving 15 years. Both women said they had suffered stillbirths but were convicted of aggravated homicide despite a lack of witnesses and evidence. El Salvador is one of only six countries that ban abortion in all circumstances, including to save the mother’s life. Last year, a teenage rape survivor was sentenced to 30 years after having a stillbirth; the court ruled that her failure to seek prenatal care amounted to murder.

3-8-18 Planned Parenthood’s absolutism
“Planned Parenthood is the NRA of the Democratic Party,” said Michael Graham. “Only worse.” As the largest abortion provider in the country, the women’s health organization spearheads the pro-choice lobby. Its political action committee spent $45 million on the 2016 election, all to support Democrats, and $175 million last year on things like “movement building” and “engaging communities.” These sums make the organization a powerful and unyielding force, and the Democratic Party more absolutist on abortion than Republicans are on guns. When moderate Democrats suggested last year that being pro-choice shouldn’t be a “litmus test” for party candidates, Planned Parenthood denounced the proposal as “shocking” and “totally wrong.” In Congress, there are now only three openly pro-life Democrats, down from more than 60 in 2008; the few Democratic candidates who dare admit to being pro-life “personally” generally feel a need to say that they’d still vote with their party on the issue over their conscience. The parallels to the NRA are clear. Planned Parenthood refuses to let Democrats from more conservative regions of the country support any limitations on the procedure whatsoever—proof that “you don’t need a gun to be a bully.” (Webmaster's comment: A woman must be the sole owner of her body and what's in or not in it!)

3-7-18 Mississippi lawmakers approve earliest US abortion ban
The Mississippi state Senate has passed a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks - a move that would give it the strictest limits in the US. The Gestational Age Act still has to go back to the House for second approval. If it passes, Governor Phil Bryant has said he will sign the measure into law, adding that he wants Mississippi to be "the safest place in America for an unborn child." Similar moves in other states have been blocked by legal challenges. Currently, Mississippi prohibits abortions from 20 weeks, unless her life is in danger or in cases of fatal foetal abnormality. The new proposal would move that forward five weeks, and makes no allowances for rape or incest for later terminations. It has already passed in the state House of Representatives, but has to return for secondary approval before being approved by Governor Bryant. Diane Derzis, who runs the only abortion clinic in the state, has said that she believes the bill is unconstitutional. She has said the clinic would consider a legal challenge if the bill is signed into law. (Webmaster's comment: It's not a child, it's a fetus, and it's just a ball of protoplasm. And a woman has all rights to what's in her own body!)

3-4-18 The fight for abortion rights in Brazil
As Brazil's lawmakers face a bill that could outlaw all abortions, activists worry about the consequences. Sabrina has had several abortions, but it's her most recent that still makes her uneasy. Sabrina isn't her real name — she agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity since abortion in her country, Brazil, is illegal, except in cases of rape, life-threatening pregnancy, or a fatal brain defect in the fetus. Previously, Sabrina went to a clandestine clinic that had been an open secret among Rio de Janeiro's middle- and upper-class women. When she needed help again in August 2014, the place had been shut down amid police crackdowns on illegal abortions. So, one afternoon, Sabrina turned to a last-resort option — she was collected from a supermarket parking lot by gang members in Rio's militia-laced peripheries and taken to a residential home. "It was obvious that no one there was a doctor. It seemed like a trick. Like something dirty," said Sabrina. She still struggles to articulate the niggling feeling in the back of her mind that day, but shaking her head she added, "It felt like a butcher shop." Despite the dangers, experiences like Sabrina's might soon become more common here, if Brazil passes a controversial amendment to the country's constitution that could completely outlaw abortion. The proposed amendment, known as PEC 181, was originally intended to extend maternity leave for mothers of premature newborns. It included a clause to "protect life from conception," however — banning abortion altogether — which has sparked numerous protests in the country's biggest cities. Human rights groups, including several U.N. agencies, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, say the measure could pose significant dangers to pregnant women. The amendment is due to be debated again by a special committee in early 2018, before going to a vote in Congress. Complications following illegal abortions kill one woman every two days in Brazil, according to official Ministry of Health data. More recent media reports show that it could be considerably higher, up to as many as four women a day. Meanwhile, Brazil's race and social class disparities mean that black and working-class women are 2.5 times likelier to die than white women.

2-15-18 Rural Catholics won’t be patronized
Progressives in Ireland are pushing too far, too fast, especially on abortion, said Jody Corcoran. Supporters of “Repeal the Eighth”—the movement to overturn the eighth amendment of the constitution, which recognizes equal rights to life for mother and unborn child—have been “loud, even aggressive” and have succeeded in getting a referendum on legalizing abortion scheduled for this spring. So strident, so self-righteous have they been in advocating for the rights of women over the rights of fetuses that they have succeeded “in cowing the middle ground, where I unashamedly stand.” They risk a backlash. Many people who are willing to allow abortion in some cases also believe that the constitution should retain some form of protection for the unborn. Yet when two male politicians advocated such a compromise, they were “dismissed as rural-Ireland backwoodsmen.” Take a lesson from the U.S.: The smug attitude of our pro-abortion crowd recalls the sniffy way Hillary Clinton maligned the supporters of Donald Trump as “deplorables,” beneath contempt. The insult may well have spurred those voters to show up in greater numbers, and they ultimately proved victorious. Clinton “took the rednecks for granted until the rednecks struck back.” Rural Ireland “may similarly upend the onward march of progressive Ireland.”

2-14-18 Some women don't want reproductive rights. I'm one of them.
Many women are disgusted with the Republican Party, for not-so-mysterious reasons. That has left many liberals hoping for landslide victories in 2018 and beyond. They should moderate their expectations. As much as Republicans' behavior offends many women, there will always be some women who find the Democrats more unpalatable still. And abortion is the biggest reason why. Some women simply won't consider supporting a party that trumpets its commitment to "abortion rights." I should know. I'm one of them. Pro-life women are not especially rare. About 38 percent of American women believe that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases. Women have long been central to pro-life activism, marching in rallies and running crisis pregnancy centers. This can all be quite difficult for progressives to understand. Why would anyone want to be forced to bear children against her will? Why aren't pro-life women interested in retaining control of their own bodies? Too often, the left simply dismisses pro-life women as pawns of the patriarchy, lazy elitists, or victims of internalized misogyny. It's tough to gain insight into anyone's perspective if you begin from such unflattering starting points. So let's approach the issue another way and ask: What do pro-life women actually value? Virtually everyone appreciates that pregnant women have needs that must be considered when we're crafting policy on abortion. There are significant differences, however, between a stance that looks to balance those needs against the interests of the developing child, and one that prioritizes the mother's autonomy absolutely. However much they soft-pedal the gorier details, defenders of abortion rights are mostly committed to the second. That becomes pretty evident when they oppose any and all restrictions on abortion, and regularly decry the injustice of denying a woman her "right to choose." (Webmaster's comment: A woman's body is her own, COMPLETELY. So take your desire to control others lives and leave the country.)

2-8-18 Abortion: Are Democrats too extreme?
How many elections are Democrats willing to lose to protect late-term abortions? asked David Brooks in The New York Times. A bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks recently went down to defeat in the Senate, with Republicans unable to overcome the Democrats’ filibuster. All but three Democratic senators voted against the ban, despite the fact that the politics of abortion are “fundamentally bad for Democrats.” Most Americans support at least some restrictions on abortion, which makes sense in a world where scientific advances now allow babies to survive outside the womb as early as 22 weeks. Nevertheless, liberals continue to support the unfettered right to an abortion throughout pregnancy; that absolutist position alienates millions of voters. Democrats maintain that late-term procedures are just 1 percent of all abortions. If that’s the case, why prioritize them over all other issues? Democrats should stand up for what is right, “even when it makes ‘winning’ harder,” said obstetrician Cheryl Axelrod in Slate.com. Most women who choose to have second-term abortions do so “due to grave health concerns for either mother or fetus” that are discovered later in pregnancy. Should a woman be forced to carry a baby to term who will be born without a brain? Or give birth to a child who would suffocate upon delivery because of undeveloped lungs—a choice I faced myself? Yes, second-term abortions make some people uncomfortable. But there is nothing progressive about “throwing away the needs of a minority for the comfort of the majority.”

1-30-18 Irish abortion referendum: Debate rages after vote announced
The decision by the Irish government to hold a referendum at the end of May on whether to reform the country's near-total ban on abortion has prompted reaction on both sides of the debate. After the announcement, Children's Minister Katherine Zappone said: "As an independent woman sitting at the cabinet table, I believe we have reached a significant moment and I am full of emotion at this time. "As we continue our preparation for a referendum, it is my firm hope we will have a respectful debate based on the facts. I hope we will live together in an Ireland someday soon where abortion is safe, legal and rare." The May vote will decide whether to repeal a constitutional amendment that effectively bans terminations. The ballot will not be on specific terms of any new law, but on whether to retain or repeal article 40.3.3 of the constitution, known as the Eighth Amendment. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland on Tuesday, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: "Whether the Eighth Amendment is in our Constitution, or indeed not in our Constitution, abortion is a reality for Irish women. "I cannot close my eyes and block my ears to the fact that 3,265 of our citizens travelled to the UK in 2016 from every county in Ireland. "I cannot stand over a situation where the abortion pill is illegally accessed in this country and women, perhaps in the privacy of their own bedroom, in a lonely isolated place, [are] taking a pill without any medical supervision." Using the hashtags #repealthe8th or #savethe8th, people have welcomed or condemned the decision. Ailbhe Smyth, who has campaigned to have the amendment repealed, welcomed it with open arms.

1-27-18 Irish abortion referendum: PM Varadkar to campaign for change
The prime minister of Ireland has told the BBC he will campaign for the country's near-total ban on abortion to be liberalised. Leo Varadkar had previously said the laws were "too restrictive". A referendum will take place this summer on whether to repeal a constitutional amendment that effectively bans pregnancy terminations. The wording of the referendum question is yet to be decided. Ireland's eighth amendment places the right to life of an unborn child on a par with that of a mother, meaning abortion is banned even when the pregnancy is the result of rape or when the foetus has a fatal abnormality. Campaigners have long called for the laws to be changed, and last year a Citizens' Assembly and a cross-party parliamentary committee both recommended removing the ban. The committee recommended that abortions should be allowed without restriction up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. The Republic of Ireland has a near total ban on abortion. In 2013, abortion was permitted for the first time in the country under certain conditions - when doctors deem that a woman is at risk of taking her life, or that her life is at risk due to medical complications. The law does not allow for terminations in cases of rape or incest, or when there is a foetal abnormality. The law was introduced in the wake of the case of an Indian woman, Savita Halappanavar, who died in a Galway hospital in 2012 after she was refused an abortion. The eighth amendment to the Republic's constitution, introduced in 1983, "acknowledges the right to life of the unborn". In what was known as the X Case of 1992, a 14-year-old rape victim was initially prevented from travelling to England to terminate her pregnancy. This ruling was overturned by the Irish Supreme Court and a referendum approved a further update to the constitution, stating that the eighth amendment did not restrict the freedom to travel to another state.

1-19-18 Trump vows abortion opposition in speech to March for Life
US President Donald Trump has become the first sitting president to speak live via video to the annual March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W Bush delivered remarks at the march at least twice during their tenure, speaking via telephone broadcast. In a speech at the White House, Mr Trump criticised US abortion laws and vowed to defend "the right to life". Decades before becoming president, Mr Trump said he supported abortion. Vice-President Mike Pence, who introduced Mr Trump, called him "the most pro-life president in American history" and added that he would "restore the sanctity of life to the centre of American law". Mr Trump told the thousands of marchers who gathered on Washington's National Mall on Friday that "under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence and that is the right to life". In his speech, the president touted anti-abortion policies that he has enacted in his first year in office, including this week's Department of Health and Human Services announcement that it would reverse Obama-era legal guidance discouraging states from defunding organisations that provide abortion services. He attacked Roe v Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalised abortion in the US, saying it "has resulted in some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world". (Webmaster's comment: An absolute lie! But we should expect that of Trump.)

Abortion Rights Worldwide

In Blue it is Legal on Requst, In Green it is legal but with some restrictions, In all the rest it is basically illlegal.

1-19-18 Confessions of an abortion opponent
The annual anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C., is both inspiring and depressing. Perennially ignored despite drawing crowds larger than last year's much-lauded D.C. Women's March, it has become, journalistically speaking, a quaint sideshow, its existence acknowledged, if at all, only by avowedly right-wing publications. Without demeaning the sacrifice of good-natured participants, I would like to confess that I find myself baffled by the march. What are those of us who oppose what we consider judicially sponsored infanticide hoping to accomplish by busing in church youth groups by the thousands in order to wave signs in front of locals who regard them with undisguised contempt? Do marchers think that Anthony Kennedy is going to change his mind the next time an abortion case comes before the Supreme Court because he read a profile of a march organizer on LifeSiteNews.com? Are demonstrators simply "raising awareness," as if any living American were unaware of their position? And what does it cost the anti-abortion movement when it throws in its lot with someone like President Trump, who is addressing today's march via a television feed? The pro-choice crowd by and large does not believe that pro-lifers are arguing in good faith. It's not hard to see why. If we claim that abortion is murder, how can we live with ourselves? How can we go about our business, raising our families and watching sports and ordering take-out, voting and contributing to GDP growth, in such a country? How can we possibly affect concern for any other issue, from prudential questions about marginal tax rates to foreign policy? Why are we not monomaniacally shouting our lungs off about this and nothing else 24 hours a day, seven days a week?

1-18-18 'I miscarried and now am serving a 30 year sentence'
Evelyn Hernandez, a Salvadorean teenager, was raped by a gang member and then jailed for 30 years for what her supporters say was a miscarriage. Opponents say she killed her child. El Salvador has some of the harshest abortion laws in the world and cases of miscarriages and still births often being considered abortions.

1-17-18 Guinea healer held over faking hundreds of pregnancies
Police in Guinea say they have arrested a healer for conning hundreds of women into believing they were pregnant. N'na Fanta Camara gave women who had been unable to conceive a mixture of leaves, herbs and other medicines that caused them to bloat and look pregnant. For her services, patients paid $33 (£24), in a country where the average monthly wage is around $48 (£35). Police believe Ms Camara made thousands of dollars a month, though she says she was only trying to help. On Tuesday, more than 200 women protested outside the police station in the Guinean capital of Conakry where Ms Camara was held. Over 700 women aged 17 to 45 are believed to have been affected by Ms Camara's pregnancy "cure". The high numbers reflect Guinea, and the rest of Africa's, dependence on traditional healers. In 2006, the World Health Organization said that 80% of Africans used traditional medical treatments.

1-17-18 America's broken childbirth system
How can we allow giving birth to bankrupt new families? Now that the Republicans have shaken the dust from their feet following all 497 of their failed attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act, we are probably due for one of those long spells where we pretend that all the issues that were so urgent last year until the GOP lighted upon "tax reform" are worth ignoring for a while. This would be a mistake. It is the perennial folly of columnists to allow politicians to decide what is and is not worthy of our readers' attention, to whip ourselves into fits of spasmodic rage whenever they propose something bad and sink back into indifference as soon as it looks as if they have changed their minds. The provision of medical care in this country was an important issue in 2017 and it is an important issue now. Just how far we have to go before we can think of ourselves as a civilized people is made clear by two recent pieces in The Guardian's excellent parenting section, "The Mother Load." Few issues demonstrate the callousness and absurdity of our current public-private system as the way we "finance" the birth of children. The cost of the average birth in the United States is more than $32,000 for a standard delivery with no complications. This is higher than any other country in the world, and it has nothing to do with the quality of care we provide to mothers and children. Parents such as Stella Apo Osae-Cwum and her husband who find themselves in difficult and unpredictable circumstances end up footing the bill for amounts that are even more unimaginable — $877,000 for the premature birth of their triplets. (Webmaster's comment: $32,000, a year's salary for many, for what used to be done at home without assistance except from a midwife. THAT'S NUTS!)

1-16-18 Evidence grows that normal childbirth takes longer than we thought
The insight could lead to fewer unnecessary C-sections being performed. A long-standing “rule” for women in labor has been challenged again. During labor, the cervix – the narrow, lower part of the uterus – dilates, or opens, to allow for a baby’s birth. For decades, the guidance has been that the cervix should dilate by at least 1 centimeter per hour. But a study in two African countries found a slower rate of dilation for many women who went on to have healthy, vaginal births, researchers report online January 16 in PLOS Medicine. The new study reinforces findings from recent research on pregnant women in the United States, Japan and other countries. Nevertheless, some doctors still wrongly classify slower labor as abnormal, researchers say, leading to unnecessary, potentially risky interventions such as cesarean delivery.

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