************************************************* 10 October 2017
28 September Activities
Joint Action for Reproductive Justice formed & activities for 28 September
Joint Action for Reproductive Justice, a network of Korean feminist groups and organizations, and many other feminist groups and individuals,took part in the Global Day of Action this year.
In Korea, the Criminal Code Articles 269/270 makes all abortions illegal, with punishments of imprisonment or a fine for women and imprisonment and loss of employment for providers. The Mother and Child Health Act (1973, amended 1986 and 2012)permits abortion with the women's and spouse/partner's consent in specified cases of mental or physical handicap or disease, infectious disease, as a consequence of rape or incest, or risk to the woman's health.
Historically, Korean governments have been controlling people’s (especially women’s) sexuality and exploiting women’s productive/reproductive capacity with family planning policies in response to low fertility and through eugenic policies.
On 28 September, women from diverse contexts (disabilities, age, marital status, family status, HIV/AIDS, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc) shared their experiences and spoke out. They endorsed the inauguration of Joint Action for Reproductive Justice and the start of our movement.
They wrote: "We organised the following performance art: all participants wore white shirts. The shirts contained the date they suffered a negative experience,e.g.an unwanted abortion, a sterilisation because of disability or illness, learning she was pregnant after sexual violence, or when she was asked to accept an IUCD by the national family planning programme. Participants stood in rows on the stairs and described their experiences one by one. The first speaker held a red ribbon, and after speaking, she passed part of the ribbon to the next speaker, and the next, until all were connected by the red ribbon. The groups then shouted their demands:
-Repeal Articles 269/270 of the Criminal Code!
-Amend the Mother and Child Health Law!
-The real problem is the criminalization of abortion!
-My body is not illegal!
-Guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights for everyone!
-We demand reproductive justice as social justice!"
The Joint Action for Reproductive Justice network includes these groups: Center for Health and Social Change, Femidangdang, Femimonsters, Flaming Feminist Action, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, Korean Women's Associations United, Korea Women's Hot Line, Network for Glocal Activism, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Forum, Womenlink, Women with Disabilities Empathy.
E-mail from: Na-young, South Korea,who works for ‘Network for Glocal Activism’.
March on 3 October ; police raids in 4 cities on 4 October
Several women’s rights groups in Poland have had their documents and computers seized in police raids which took place a day after thousands of activists marched against the country’s restrictive abortion law on 3 October.
The Women’s Rights Centre, which works on a range of women's issues, and Baba, which helps domestic violence victims, had their offices in the cities of Warsaw, Lodz, Gdansk, and Zielona Gora invaded by police.Both organisations had taken part in anti-government protests marking the one-year anniversary of the historic “Black Protest”.
Abortion in Johannesburg: Painting the town safe on 28 September
From a young age, girls are exposed to posters on the side of the road reading “quick & painless abortion”. It doesn’t take long before this message is ingrained in their heads and such information is ready to be used in case they ever find themselves in this situation.
Since its launch, Fem’s main goal is to guarantee connections to safe abortion providers for women. This is why, on Safe Abortion International Day, the Fem team decided to challenge unsafe abortion providers,who are promoting unsafe services on posters around the country. There are hundreds of these posters plastered around communities in South Africa. As soon as a poster starts to lose visual appeal, it is replaced with another until they make layers are pasted on top of each other. Fem wants these walls to be filled with promotion of safe abortion providers, and we are willing to offer our own mapping information of verified facilities where one can be well-treated regardless of what their personal decision is.
Removing the posters was not easy. A team of 12 dedicated people from Fem and Activate Change Driverswere there to tackle the issue along with the support of Pikitup,the waste management service provider to the City of Joburg. They provided us with gloves, as well as plastic bags to throw the posters away once removed . We used butter knives and vinegar to remove the posters.
The response from the clean-up was beyond everything we had ever imagined. We’ve received messages of support from all over the country and we will continue this movement. You’re welcome to join us and to organize your own clean-ups! Let us know when it will happen and Fem will support you.
Abortion Law and Policy
SOLIDARITY REQUEST: The women of Bolivia are asking for your support!
Article 153 on abortion in the draft criminal code was approved on September 28 in the Chamber of Deputies of the Legislative Assembly of Bolivia. It allows abortion up to eight weeks of pregnancy without penalty if the woman is responsible for senior citizens with disabilities or for minors, and also if continuing the pregnancy presents a risk to the life or health of the woman, there are fetal malformations incompatible with life, if the pregnancy results from rape or incest, or results from impregnation with reproductive technology that the woman did not consent to, or if the pregnancy is in a girl child or adolescent .
It has not yet been approved in the Senate, but the Senate has a majority of the Evo government party and is expected to pass the bill into law. The position of the Campaign for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Bolivia on September 28 was for total decriminalisation, but there is also no doubt that we consider this reform of Article 153 an important advance for women.
We ask for your support on Twitter calling on the Senate to approve the bill: @SenadoBolivia
Please also write letters to these Senators supporting law reform:
Jose Alberto González Samaniego
Presidente de la Cámara de Senadores
Adriana Salvatierra Arrieza
Presidenta de la Comisión de Constitución de la Cámara de Senadores
We also ask you to circulate this request to other networks and activists to support us in Bolivia.
Saludos a todas, Lupe Pérez, Campaña 28 de Septiembre Bolivia, Pacto nacional despenalización aborto Bolivia
SOURCE/PHOTO: Prensa Latina, 1 October 2017 ; E-mail from Marisa Matamala
Male medical doctors brief male religious leaders on abortion law reform
An all-male group of medical doctors representing the Sri Lankan Health Ministry met with a group of all-male religious leaders of the Congress of Religions in Colombo to explain and discuss proposed amendments to the abortion law.
Prof Sujeewa Amarasena, Professor in Paediatrics, Ruhuna University Medicine Faculty, said the recommendations had been made to decriminalise abortion and allow for medical termination of pregnancies only in three specific circumstances under strict regulations. The three instances were sexual abuse and incest, pregnancy in a girl below the age of 16 (as a victim of statutory sexual assault) and serious fetal impairment.
“Even for these instances, a Magistrate will have the final say in the decision and the approval of a panel of three physicians, including the Judicial Medical Officer and a psychiatrist, should be sought in order to proceed. Abortion should only be performed by a state medical doctor at a government hospital. In case of a sexual abuse, a complaint should be lodged with the police informing the crime,” he said.
How many of these illegal abortions would become legal under the law being proposed, given the stringency of the requirements attached to it, is unclear. But as one participant in the meeting said, a lot depended on how the law was implemented.
Lawsuit to let pharmacists dispense medical abortion pills, while Congress restricts abortions after 20 weeks
Hawaiian Dr Graham Chelius has brought a suit with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several healthcare associations to allow medical abortion to be offered on prescription at local pharmacies. The suit challenges a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirement that Mifeprex (brand name) be dispensed in clinics, doctors’ offices, and hospitals—rather than a pharmacy.
Dr Chelius called the restriction medically unnecessary and burdensome. The island of Kauai in Hawaii lacks a single abortion clinic. He said he would like to stock the pills but cannot because of the FDA restriction. If one of his patients wants to use the pills to end her pregnancy, she has to fly to a different island 300 miles round trip to get this care, he told NPR.
Medical abortion accounted for nearly one-third of abortions in the United States in 2014, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But 39% of US women of reproductive age live in a county without an abortion clinic. Lifting the FDA restriction on Mifeprex would increase access for them because they could go to a pharmacy for medication abortion, advocates said. “The abortion pill is safe, effective, and legal. So why is the FDA keeping it locked away from women who need it?” said Julia Kaye, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a statement.
SOURCES: Rewire, by Nicole Knight, 3 October 2017 ; ACLU inc. PHOTO, 3 October 2017
Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives, on a vendetta against women, supposedly in support of "the voiceless, the vulnerable, and the marginalized" (but only if they haven't yet been born) have just passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Their Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act claims that a fetus at 20 weeks can feel pain. All credible scientific research shows this is not true. It is just a new excuse to restrict abortion. Legal experts believe the ban is unconstitutional, because it undermines a key provision of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court judgment that established the right to abortion in the USA until fetal viability.
SEE ALSO: Conversation on Twitter between Dan Grossman, obstetrician-gynaecologist, abortion provider and researcher at ANSIRH, University of California San Francisco, USA, and the anti-abortion bill’s lead sponsor Trent Franks at: https://twitter.com/DrDGrossman/status/915581422974455808