Abortion Services and Training:
The Best and the Least

1 July 2016

Tabbot Foundation's telephone abortion service: the first 8 months

The Tabbot Foundation's telephone abortion service, launched eight months ago, has so far provided more than 850 medical terminations, with many of its referrals coming from GPs. The Foundation’s website is averaging about 120 hits a day and up to 90 phone calls a week, with an average of about 30 patients a week, according to medical director, Dr Paul Hyland, who described it as the way of the future for terminations.

At present, the Tabbot Foundation has to meet different legal requirements in every jurisdiction and is not allowed to provide the service in South Australia and Northern Territory. Most women have said they used the service for privacy reasons, particularly women in rural communities where there are few doctors and usually just one community pharmacy. About 15% of patients so far were living in rural and remote areas where there was limited access to abortion services. This is “a reflection of the inconsistent, inappropriate and in many cases antiquated legal frameworks governing abortion in Australia”... FULL STORY

A country of contrasts when it comes to abortion

A recent paper by Kirti Iyengar, Sharad D Iyengar and Kristina Gemzell Danielsson in the Lancet, entitled "Can India transition from informal abortion provision to safe and formal services?", discusses the fact that although abortion was legalised in India in 1972, several barriers continue to prevent women from accessing safe services, especially in rural areas. These range from skewed distribution of facilities, mainly found in urban areas, the high cost of services, provider-related barriers such as denying women the choice between medical and surgical abortion, and insistence on husband’s consent even though the law does not require it. Moreover, Indian women have shown an overwhelming preference for medical abortion, but providers may refuse to offer it.
This paper argues there is evidence that women are increasingly seeking abortion services from informal providers or chemists as a result of these barriers. Sweeping amendments have been proposed to the abortion law in India, including certification of a wider range of providers, in line with the new WHO guidelines, but doctors' professional associations have been vehemently opposed so far. The authors argue that even within the confines of existing law, practice needs to change to make medical abortion widely available to meet demand, which means overcoming senior provider resistance to change, addressing cost issues, and much more...

Reproductive Health Training Centre provides training courses on reproductive health and comprehensive abortion care

The Reproductive Health Training Centre (RHTC) in Chisinau, Moldova, is regularly providing training courses for the Eastern European and Central Asian region. The most recent course in comprehensive abortion care and implementing WHO recommendations, took place on 16-20 May 2016, in Tiraspol, Transnistria, in Moldova. Twenty-four gynaecologists, obstetricians and midwives from Transnistria were trained. Three medical institutions, in which three future model clinics will be opened, were equipped with supplies and medications.

The purpose was to improve the quality of abortion services and train medical staff to provide safe abortion methods in accordance with WHO recommendations. Each of the participants had the chance to practice on a pelvic model and to do an MVA for a real patient using with local anaesthesia, after offering counselling and obtaining informed consent...

Dr Colleen McNicholas 

A day in the life of two abortion doctors

Every day, Dr Colleen McNicholas zig-zags across across a wide swathe of the Midwest of the USA, considered an abortion "desert", to make sure clinics stay open and women get the abortions they need.​ On this particular day, as described in the article, she is greeting at the first clinic in the morning by an anti-abortion protestor who says: "Oh, Colleen, you're here to butcher the babies again, aren't you?"
"Once inside the clinic, an armed guard waves her through the metal detector and a set of auto-lock doors (the second won't open until the first one shuts). She has just enough time to change into scrubs, shove a few bites of a bagel into her mouth (she'll munch on this one bagel all day in lieu of a lunch break), and wash her hands for the required three minutes before it's time for the first abortion. By the end of her eight-hour workday, she will have terminated 31 pregnancies."...

Arrested for selling abortion pills illegally in South Africa

A recently reported story from North-West Province began when a 27-year-old woman was admitted to Brits District Hospital with suspicion of illegal abortion after she delivered a stillborn fetus weighing 660g. She admitted to the nurse, who was taking her history, that she had bought some tablets for R1500 to induce labour and later also said where she had got them. 

The disconnect between the public health system's abortion services and poor women needing abortions in South Africa seems to be a serious and ongoing one. There have been a number of newspaper articles about people being caught selling abortion pills illegally and arrested. A feature in 2011 on the subject in Johannesburg, for example, found that it was often poor women from Mozambique who were selling hair plaiting services on the street who were also selling abortion pills for R 200 each. In spite of local and national efforts to raise awareness about the lack of safety of illegal abortion and promotion safe services, the North-West Department of Health reported seeing a sharp increase in women with vaginal bleeding and miscarriages attending for care. They say a total of 927 such cases have been reported between April 2015 and March 2016...

Obtaining abortion pills through the post and through the air

On 21 June, there was direct-action political theatre at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, where the Women on Web abortion drone delivered two sets of abortion pills to Northern Ireland. After the drone landed, two women took the pills. Courtney Robinson of Labour Alternative, one of the woman who swallowed the pills, said: “Information whether I am pregnant or not is protected by my right to privacy. The right to safe abortion should be a private matter but by criminalizing it, it has instead become a political issue. I have the human right to access and use these medicines.”

Rita Harrold from Rosa said: "…We sent the pills across the border today as an act of solidarity with women in NI who are currently facing prosecutions. This is outrageous. Today's action is a clear message of intent - North and South we will build an unstoppable movement of women and young people until women have the right to control their own bodies."... FULL STORY


New Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Association of Malawi backs abortion law reform

On 23 June 2016, the Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Association of Malawi was launched. Its President, Prof Frank Taulo, said their aim was to help to maintain high clinical and ethical standards and improving lives of Malawian women. Another objective is to encourage the highest standards of training in obstetrics and gynaecology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Reacting to the news, the National Coordinator, Chrispin Gwalawala Sibande of the Coalition for the Prevention of Unsafe Abortion (COPUA) said he was happy that the law reform on abortion received backing from the experts themselves. “These are the technical people who understand all the technical aspects of abortion in Malawi so to have them coming out clear, is a welcome development.”...
Editor: Marge Berer

Copyright © 2016 International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion, All rights reserved.