European Court of Human Rights announced its judgment today in the case P. and S. v. Poland. Federation for Women and Family Planning and its lawyers have been involved in the case from the very beginning. It is a case of a teenage girl who was pregnant as a result of rape. Despite the fact that there was a relevant document issued by the prosecutor, she had been denied legal abortion in several hospitals. As a result she had to undergo the procedure in a hospital located 500 kilometers from her place of residence. Besides that, her right to confidentiality of medical information was breached, which resulted in severe harassment by pro-life and Catholic activists. The girl was also separated from her mother and placed in a juvenile shelter.

The Court determined violations of Article 8, (right to respect for private and family life) as regards the determination of access to lawful abortion in respect of both applicants (by six votes to one) and as regards the disclosure of the applicants’ personal data (unanimously);  Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) in respect of P., and a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of P.

The court held that Poland was to pay P. 30,000 euros (EUR) and S. EUR 15,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 16,000 to both applicants in respect of costs and expenses.

Read the judgment in full here:



The French government announced in the last week of September 2012 that all terminations of pregnancy would be reimbursed in full by the Social Security insurance from 2013. The  procedure will therefore be free of cost for women. This was a commitment made by François Hollande during the presidential election campaign in France earlier this year.


Each year in France, there are about 225, 000 abortions and 54% are medical abortions. The cost varies from 200 to 450 Euros, depending on the method and is currently reimbursed by the state at 70% for medical abortions and 80% for surgical abortions.


España: La única clínica de la Comunitat que práctica abortos de segundo trimestre convoca un cierre patronal por los impagos

(The only clinic that provides second trimester abortions in Valencia and Castellón on strike and planning to subvert any government restrictions on abortion)

Los trabajadores llevan 4 meses sin cobrar por la deuda de 500.000 euros del Consell

(Clinic staff have worked without pay for 4 months due to non-payment of fees for 7 months for women referred by public hospitals who refuse to do second trimester abortions)


21 September 2012


English summary:

At a press conference on Friday at noon, Josep Carbonell, director of the Mediterranea Medica clinic in Valencia announced that the clinic is going on strike tomorrow Monday for one week, because for 7 months the regional administration has not paid for abortions provided to women referred by public hospitals who refuse to perform abortions. Because of the outstanding payments of  €500,000, workers at the clinic have worked without pay for 4 months and suppliers cannot be paid either. During the strike, minimal services will be maintained so that women seeking abortions do not have to wait until they are over the legal time limits for abortion.


With the closure, the clinic also wants to protest against the intention to restrict the 2010 abortion law announced by the Minister of Justice Gallardon. Dr Carbonell warned that if Gallardon persists in these restrictive reforms and wants to force abortion back underground, he will launch: “a clandestine network of free clinics to ensure the rights of women. They will have to put many of us in jail ,” he said.


and in Spanish: Las direcciones de las clínicas Mediterránea Médica de Valencia, la única en la Comunitat Valenciana que practica abortos de segundo trimestre, y Deiá Médica de Castellón, realizarán un cierre patronal del lunes 24 al próximo día 30 de septiembre ante los impagos del Consell, que asciende a 500.000 euros, y que han provocado que los trabajadores lleven casi cuatro meses sin cobrar. No obstante, harán servicios mínimos para que ninguna mujer sobrepase el límite legal.


El vocal de la Asociación de clínicas Acreditadas para la Interrupción del Embarazo (ACAI) y director de clínicas Mediterránea Médica de Valencia, Josep Lluis Carbonell, ha explicado en rueda de prensa que el Gobierno valenciano sólo ha abonado el 65 por ciento de 2010 y 2011 y lleva siete meses de este año sin pagar, lo que supone una deuda de 415.000 euros para Valencia y de otros 100.000 para el centro de Castellón.


Carbonell ha detelaldo que el 80 por ciento de las interrupciones que práctica son de mujeres remitidas por centros dependientes de la Conselleria de Sanidad, lo que supone unos 120 abortos mensuales, y el 20 por ciento son casos privados, principalmente de dos hospitales de gestión privada y de Murcia. Así, ha expuesto que si hasta ahora se han podido mantener han sido por estas casos privados, pero que desde hace dos meses los dos hospitales de gestión privada que les remitían pacientes también han dejado de pagar….


Contra la reforma de Gallardon

Por otra parte, ha informado de que con este cierre también quiere protestar contra la reforma de la Ley del Aborto anunciada por el ministro de Justicia, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, que “condena a las mujeres a parir un feto malformado”. “Es una crueldad sublime para las mujeres”, ha constatado y “más cuando se han suprimido los fondos para el ciudadano de la dependencia”.


Además, ha señalado que con la presente ley se ha conseguido disminuir y que casi desaparezcan los abortos del segundo trimestre que “antes eran tan numerosos, al poder abortar de forma gratuita en la red pública”. Por ello, ha advertido de que si Gallardón persiste en esta reforma y quiere volver a llevar la práctica de abortos a la clandestinidad, pondrá en marcha “una red de clínicas gratuitas clandestina para garantizar este derecho de las mujeres”. “Nos tendrán que meter a la cárcel a muchos”, ha señalado.


Full text in Spanish:

Laura Bassett

An Idaho law that bans the use of medication to induce abortion cannot be used to prosecute a woman who took the pills to abort her pregnancy, a U.S. appeals court decided on Tuesday.

Bannock County prosecutors brought a case against Jennie Linn McCormack in 2011 after she used medication that she obtained online to induce her own abortion. McCormack, a single mother of three, claims that she could not find a licensed abortion provider in Southeastern Idaho, so she had to violate a state law that requires abortions to be performed at a hospital or medical clinic.

An Idaho federal judge dismissed the charges against McCormack in September 2011 on the grounds that the law cannot be enforced. McCormack then challenged the law itself, arguing that it imposes an undue burden on women’s access to abortion in Idaho.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the law is likely unconstitutional because the burden of having to adhere to criminal abortion statutes should fall on the physician rather than the pregnant woman.

“There can be no doubt that requiring women to explore the intricacies of state abortion statutes to ensure that they and their provider act within the Idaho abortion statute framework, results in an ‘undue burden’ on a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus,” Judge Harry Pregerson wrote in his opinion.

The ruling, however, does not mean that other pregnant women can now break the law without fear of being prosecuted, Pregerson said. Until the law is struck down, prosecutors can legally continue to enforce it.

This example in Ghana is a good example of what can happen when abortion is illegal, and how this hurts and exploits women.

‘Dr.’ Joshua Drah, the now infamous medical assistant who had been illegally operating an illegal abortion clinic – Universal Mission Clinic – conducting 1000s of abortions whiles having sex with some clients, telling them it was necessary for the procedure.

Read the whole article here:

General News of Friday, 7 September 2012

Sexy Lord Of Abortion III -Consent Or No Consent?

 How Drah slept with his clients

May 17, 2011 in Health

New analysis published by the UK journal Reproductive Health Matters shows that the criminalisation of abortion in Poland has led to the development of a vast illegal private sector with no controls on price, quality of care or accountability. Since abortion became illegal in the late 1980s the number of abortions carried out in hospitals has fallen by 99%. The private trade in abortions is, however, flourishing, with abortion providers advertising openly in newspapers.

Women have been the biggest losers during this push of abortion provision into the clandestine private sector. The least privileged have been hardest hit: in 2009 the cost of a surgical abortion in Poland was greater than the average monthly income of a Polish citizen. Low-income groups are less able to protest against discrimination due to lack of political influence. Better-off women can pay for abortions generating millions in unregistered, tax-free income for doctors. Some women seek safe, legal abortions abroad in countries such as the UK and Germany.

“In the private sector, illegal abortion must be cautiously arranged and paid for out of pocket,” says Agata Chełstowska, the author of the research and a PhD student at the University of Warsaw. “When a woman enters that sphere, her sin turns into gold. Her private worries become somebody else’s private gain”. The Catholic Church, highly influential in predominantly Catholic Poland, leads the opposition to legal abortion.

Since illegality has monetised abortion, doctors have incentives to keep it clandestine, “Doctors do not want to perform abortions in public hospitals,” says Wanda Nowicka, Executive Director of the Federation for Women and Family Planning. “They are ready, however, to take that risk when a woman comes to their private practice. We are talking about a vast, untaxed source of income. That is why the medical profession is not interested in changing the abortionlaw.”

In several high profile cases, women and girls have been denied legal abortions following rape or because of serious health conditions and have been hounded by the media for seeking them. The 2004 case of a young pregnant woman who died after being denied medical treatment is currently under consideration at the European Court of Human Rights.

Other articles in this issue of Reproductive Health Matters focus on many aspects of health privatisation worldwide and includes studies from Bangladesh, Turkey, Malawi, India, Madagascar and South Africa.

More information: doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(11)37548-9

Date: Sunday, July 29, 2012
Source: Sunday Times (South Africa)

Ban sparks abortion debate

Officials insist Marie Stopes are breaking Zambian law

‘Unsafe abortion is a major issue in Zambia. And the consequences are devastating for young women’

ZAMBIA’S Northern Province administrators would like the abortion law to be strictly enforced.

Provincial permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba on July 20 ordered Marie Stopes, the international reproductive health NGO that operates in 42 countries, to stop operations with immediate effect for conducting “illegal abortions”.

By so doing, the administration threw open the rarely discussed issue of unsafe abortions.

Safe abortion is virtually unattainable, grudgingly countenanced only at the end of an intricate procedure that allows it mainly on the grounds of threats to the mother’s life.

Deaths from unsafe abortions account for nearly a third of maternal mortality in Zambia, with girls and young women particularly at risk.

What attracted attention to Marie Stopes was a report it submitted to the Ministry of Health. It showed that between January and May this year, it conducted 490 abortions in the northern part of the country.

The administration labelled them “detrimental” because they were carried out “illegally”. Under the law, an abortion has to be certified by three doctors. The administration said Marie Stopes was not observing that requirement and was instead carrying out abortions based on “social reasons and conditions or merely on the basis that the pregnancy was unwanted”.

This was a violation of the law and the NGO had to comply with the suspension order. The provincial police chief was instructed to investigate and prosecute those involved. The NGO would not comment on the ban because the decision had not been officially communicated to it.

The Marie Stopes mandate is clear. Part of its “core business” is to prevent unsafe abortions worldwide. By increasing people’s ability to access sexual and reproductive health services where they live, it aims to help the 215 million women in the developing world who do not have access to modern forms of contraception.

It is part of the worldwide effort to reduce the 20 million unsafe abortions – about 6.2 million of which are performed in Africa – and prevent the 358000 maternal deaths that occur each year.

Studies show that almost all unsafe abortions – 98% – occur in communities with limited resources.

In Zambia, Marie Stopes takes the view that the procedure can be carried out legally, except that the shortage of medical staff virtually precludes the possibility of three doctors authorising it.

The organisation has insight into the Zambian problem: “Unsafe abortion is a major issue here in Zambia. And the consequences are devastating for our young women.

“The Ministry of Health estimates that it is the cause of nearly one-third of maternal deaths in the country, with young women particularly at risk,” wrote Dr Stephen Mupeta, clinical services manager for Zambia in a case study.

Mupeta observed that this was a paradox because “in Zambia, we have some of the most liberal abortion laws in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Speak to anyone, however, and you begin to piece together the complex set of reasons that make so many women risk their lives to end unwanted pregnancies.

“You hear how many women don’t realise the procedure is legal. You hear about providers’ prejudices that mean women aren’t always offered the services they should be – even women who get the courage to go to a health centre for a safe abortion can be turned away by providers due to personal beliefs,” he wrote. “The stories are shocking: cassava roots, sticks and wire hangers forced into a woman’s uterus; herbs and poisons ingested; and women who have thrown themselves down stairs or attempted other physical injury.

“Women and girls go to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to end pregnancies in secret. Often they know how risky it might be, but they do it anyway.”

Marie Stopes wants to prevent unplanned pregnancies and tackle barriers to accessing safe services.

According to the NGO, it averted 1900 unsafe abortions and 6500 unintended pregnancies in Zambia last year.