reproductive rights

Pro-choice campaigners are hopeful that Argentinian president-elect Alberto Fernández will act on his promise to put a pro-choice bill to Congress.

Supporters of the right to choose are pulling out all stops against the religious right’s attempts to derail a broadly sponsored abortion decriminalisation bill before New South Wales parliament.

Cambodia International Women's Day 2019

Riot police tried but failed to stop an International Women's Day march in Phnom Penh on March 8.

Abortion rights advocates are hoping the High Court’s findings will support laws that have assisted access to abortion clinics, after it heard a challenge to safe access zone laws over October 9-11.

The August 14 publication of a NSW local court ruling earlier in the year has again shone light on the state’s anti-abortion laws.

A 30-year-old woman was found guilty of attempting abortion and sentenced to a 3-year good behaviour bond. The court record describes the circumstances, but leaves important questions unanswered.

Poland’s ruling far-right Law and Justice party has reversed its support for a draconian abortion ban after women across the country went on strike to protest the proposed law.

Jarosław Gowin, the minister of science and higher education, said that large protests and strikes on October 3 had “caused us to think and taught us humility,” The Guardian reported.

In the same way that women had to organise and struggle to win the vote, equal pay and access to higher education, women have also had to fight for their reproductive rights, including access to contraception and access to safe medical and surgical abortion. The impact of pregnancy and childbirth on a woman is so great that no matter what other political, social or economic rights women have, if they do not have control over whether or when to have children, it is meaningless to speak about women controlling their own lives.
The new Zika virus threat has caused alarm among pregnant women around the world, due to the threat of those infected giving birth to babies with microcephaly, or small brain, which can cause brain damage and mental incapacity.
Since the 1973 United States Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision in legalising most abortions, there has been a steady erosion of women’s abortion rights in the US - with the complicity of both major capitalist parties. A new wave of restrictions spearheaded by Republicans has developed in the past three years, gaining more traction in the past year.

Supporters of women's reproductive rights gathered outside NSW Parliament on November 13. The push to amend the NSW Crimes Act to grant a foetus personhood rights is likely to collapse after a controversial Private Member’s Bill failed to be debated in the Legislative Council.

Since Australian women rallied for “free, safe, accessible abortion on demand” 40 years ago, much has been achieved. Legal reform of some kind has taken place in most states and territories. There is Medicare funding for pregnancy termination, mifepristone is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and women no longer suffer the complications from illegal “backyard” operations. Yet there are still obstacles for women to access affordable pregnancy termination services in a timely manner.
About 200 people gathered outside the Liberal Party headquarters in Melbourne on December 4 to protest against the decision to restrict abortion in Victoria. The Victorian Liberal Party state conference voted on December 1 to wind back Victoria's abortion laws, which were amended in 2008 to decriminalise the procedure and to require a doctor with a conscientious objection to abortion to refer a woman to another doctor without prejudice.

A new battleground has opened over the introduction of “foetal personhood” laws as the anti-choice lobby tries to use these laws to roll back women’s reproductive rights. A private member’s bill giving legal rights to foetuses older than 20 weeks or weighing more than 400 grams passed the New South Wales lower house on November 21 by a large margin. A similar bill was introduced in the South Australian Legislative Council on November 27 by right-wing Christian party Family First. It lost by one vote. The Western Australian parliament considered a “foetal homicide” law last year.

Forty people gathered on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House on November 27 to protest against a new law that would make it an offence to cause serious harm to a pregnant woman. It was defeated by a single vote.   Introduced by Family First MLC Robert Brokenshire, the bill seeks to introduce "foetal personhood”, with penalties as severe as life in prison for causing what is termed in the bill “the death of the unborn child”.
Debate on a dangerous bill that seeks to redefine when life begins was again suspended in the New South Wales Parliament on November 14. The Crimes Amendment (Zoe's law) (No 2) bill, introduced in August, will be debated again in the legislative assembly on November 21. Doubts remain as to whether it will be voted on then, or deferred to next year.

Just what questions can you be asked when you apply for a job? According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on October 12, global energy company Chevron asks some intrusive reproductive health questions of women applicants in its recruitment process. Questions include whether an applicant has been sterilised, their pregnancy history, how many abortions and stillbirths they have had, the number of “normal” children they have and any birth defects their children may have.

Pages

Subscribe to reproductive rights