Monthly Roundup: Appeal Panels in the ROI, London High Court Ruling & Stigma Busting

Welcome to the ARC News Roundup, where each month our media team highlight how abortion is discussed at home and abroad. This month we look at abortion appeal panels in the Republic of Ireland, the recent London High Court Ruling, and stigma busting videos. Plus news from Europe, North America and Ghana.

Campaign Updates

The Abortion Rights Campaign began the month of May by joining the annual May Day March, which took place in Dublin on 1st May. Click here to read ARC’s statement about reproductive health and May Day ideals

In honour of the first annual Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SHRH) Global Action Day, which took place on 13th May, ARC invited the public to ‘Join the Winning Team’ by coming along to our street stall and signing our ARC football as a gesture of commitment to help us achieve our core SRHR goal; the Repeal of the 8th Amendment from the Irish Constitution through a referendum. Click here to sign the Petition to Repeal the 8th Amendment. We also promoted this goal on social media as part of the May 28th International Day for Action on Women’s Health. We invite you to read our blog post, which outlines calls made by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and affiliated organisations to world leaders to secure and support basic sexual and reproductive rights. Representatives from ARC attended the recent International Summit on Reproductive Choice in Lisbon

During the month of May, ARC asked you to question your candidates in the run up to the recent Local and European elections. We shared a downloadable checklist that pro choice voters could use to query their candidates’ stance on abortion. We also received very positive feedback from our question your candidate video. We invite you to read the full blog post, which discusses the importance of discussing abortion with those running for office. Your voice matters, so thank you for standing up for women at this critical time. 

Irish News – Doctors sign up to hear appeals from women refused an abortion

Writing in the Irish Independent Health Correspondent, Eilish O’Regan, reported that a panel of volunteer doctors, made up of obstetricians and psychiatrists has been established to sit on committees which will hear appeals from women who have been refused an abortion under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act. However, nearly six months on from the introduction of this legislation, healthcare professionals still have no clear set of guidelines available on how the legislation should be implemented.

London High Court Ruling

Last month the High Court in London ruled that women from Northern Ireland are not entitled to free abortions on the National Health Service in England. Writing in the Guardian Mara Clarke of the Abortion Support Network underscored the point that barring women who are resident in Northern Ireland from NHS abortions is an atrocious anomaly. The case was brought by a 17-year-old girl and her mother who live in Northern Ireland. The BBC reported that they plan to appeal the High Court ruling. Ann Furedi, CEO of bpas wrote a piece for the British Medical Journalstating that it is time for politicians to end nearly 50 years of discrimination against women in Northern Ireland.


Stigma Busting Videos 

Stigma-busting has gotten very glamourous! Cosmopolitan first published an article about the new stigma-busting group SeaChange Program back in March. They followed this up in May by publishing an interview with Emily Letts, an abortion counsellor In the United States, who decided to film her own abortion. In the article she explains why she decided to share her experience so publicly. Rachel Moss, writing in the UK Huffington Post writes about why we should be thanking Emily Letts and not criticisng her as many people have done. Charlotte Taft of the Abortion Care Network wrote a piece for RH Reality Check which looked at what the many reactions to Emily Letts’ video tell us about society’s views on abortion. Emily’s video was one of two winners of the Abortion Care Network’s first-ever Abortion Stigma Busting Video Competition. The other video Women Have Abortions Every Day: It’s Just One Choice was produced by a member of the Abortion Rights Campaign for the Irish Family Planning Association.

International and European News

On May 31st Global Abortion Rights News posted that “The European Commission gave due consideration to the anti-choice “One of Us” initiative to stop funding embryonic stem cell research (which would have had many negative repercussions for women’s reproductive healthcare worldwide), and rejected it, in favour of women’s human rights and continuing progress towards Millennium Development Goals.” Read the European Commission’s full reply to “One of Us”.

A project has been setup in Ghana to tackle unsafe abortions.The campaign, called ‘Advocating for Young Women Access to Safe Abortion and Contraceptive Services in Ghana’, is a three-year project which started in April 2014 and will run through to March 2017. It is designed to increase access to safe abortion services through information dissemination, strengthened referral linkages, training of abortion providers, and better reporting.  

North American News

Canada recently hosted an international summit on maternal, newborn and child health. In an article for the Globe and Mail, Hélène Laverdière and Niki Ashton criticised the Canadian government for not doing enough to address unsafe abortion, which is one of the most easily preventable and treatable cause of maternal death worldwide. They highlight the contrast between Canada’s domestic position on the issue with that of its refusal to fund NGOs who perform or advocate safe abortion. On a brighter note CTV News reported that the National Democratic Party in Canada will only run Pro-Choice candidates, while the country’s Liberal Party will not accept anti-choice candidates, although current Liberal MPs who are anti-choice can remain.

Rolling Stone Magazine reported on some of the most extreme examples of how pregnant women’s personhood is steadily being eroded in the United States. The author Laren Rankin writes “As the war on reproductive rights wages on, the types of restrictions proposed and passed in state legislatures have grown increasingly egregious and some, outright preposterous.”

Have we missed anything? Related stories? Any events upcoming we should know about? Let us know in the comments!