ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

Feb 11 2016

"The parliament passed the law, the President of Abkhazia signed it, it enters into force today," executive director of the St. Gregory the Theologian Foundation Leonid Sevastyanov told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.

Earlier, the Foundation set up an autonomous non-commercial organization Let's Preserve Life Together to oppose abortions.

"We carried out our human rights activities in Abkhazia so that republican leaders would see the necessity of banning abortions, to protect a child's right from birth. This precedent will enrich the history of human rights movement," the interviewee of the agency said.

He hopes that adoption of this law will make Russian regions revise their legislation concerning anti-abortion practices.


Feb 09 2016

2016 is the year of Parliamentarian elections in the Russian Federation and some of the MPs have already changed their position on reproductive rights for non-electing seats in the Upper Chamber (Federation Council). One of them was MP Elena Mizulina former Head of Committee on the issues of Women, Family and Children who is at the same time a leading person of Russian conservative anti-choice legislation force. Together with two other Members of the Federal Council Dr. Lakhova (the Leader of “Women of Russia”) and LDPR Member Mrs. Afanasieva, Elena Mizulina introduced a new Draft Law proposal with additional restrictions for women obtaining abortion services. In the last five years similar proposals were rejected by Russian Parliament three times already due to negative replies from the Government (MOH), however the group of newly appointed women-Senators has registered this Draft once again.

“In order to rule out the uncontrolled use of pharmaceutical drugs destined for interruption of pregnancy, we suggest the introduction of a direct ban on their retail sales and also make up a full list of organizations that will receive the right to buy them wholesale,” reads the explanation offered by the authors of the Draft Law. Although these products were never sold at the pharmacies in Russia, they are bought by the clinics and hospitals and are then provided for free or on commercial base to the patients with the mandatory doctors` consultation and under medical control only. It is quite clear that in case this proposal is voted, both Mifepristone-containing and other Emergency Contraception (EC) medications with Levonorgestrel (Postinor and Escapell) will be blown off from the pharmacies.

It is quite a common mistake to confuse pharmaceutical abortion with post coital contraception - but it is really worrying when it is made by legislators.

The RAPD “Rowan Bunch” Coalition experts consider that it is done by the Draft Law author\s on purpose, since anti-choice is struggling on one hand with abortions, and at the same time with modern contraceptive means (especially with EC) on the other.

Source: Russian Association for Population and Development

Feb 08 2016

The European Union (EU), in September 2015, following the UK, acknowledged that female war rape victims' rights to medical care under the Geneva Conventions include abortion, irrespective of any restrictive abortion laws in war zones. Following this, the newly approved 2016 budget requires that EU humanitarian aid be provided "in accordance with international humanitarian law," and without "discrimination or adverse distinction." And, in a reference to the US Helms amendment, the budget mandates EU funds "not be subject to restrictions imposed by other partner donors."

"Sexual violence is a devastating weapon in the war-torn areas, these women and girls are war wounded and should be treated equally," said Sophie in 't Veld (Member of European Parliament, Netherlands, ALDE/ D66), during a speech on this budget language. "The EU is taking steps to ensure that EU humanitarian aid funds are not tainted by other donor countries - to force a girl enslaved by ISIS, kidnapped by Boko Haram or raped in the DRC to bear a child of her rapist, who may be, as a result, expelled from the community and condemned to poverty, is inhumane treatment."

Feb 08 2016

In a landmark case, Peru has compensated a woman for denying her a medically indicated abortion. In 2001, K.L. was a 17-year-old who was diagnosed as having a fetus with anencephaly at 14 weeks' gestation. As described below, this fetal anomaly is routinely lethal. Although abortion was legal in Peru in this circumstance, a hospital director refused her request for an abortion. She was forced to continue her pregnancy and deliver the doomed fetus, which survived only four days. Working with human rights lawyers, K.L. filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, based in Geneva. In 2005, the Committee concluded that Peru had violated several articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and it ordered financial compensation to K.L. Fifteen years after the incident, reparations were finally made for Peru's "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment." This marked the first time a United Nations Committee had held a country accountable for failing to ensure access to safe, legal abortion.

Source: Huffington Post

Feb 05 2016

Three respected physicians, MD Dubravko Lepusic, MD Jasenka Grujic-Koracin and MD Gorjana Gjuric, whose Initiative for regulation of conscientious objection raised a public debate, explained their position on demanding that government-funded hospitals shouldn't employ doctors who refuse do to various medical procedures on the grounds of religious beliefs. 

Hospital, as a public institution that is funded by public money, has to secure the right of a woman to have an abortion. That is, and there should be no compromise on that certain issue. There are legal frames that guarantee that right. There are articles, in particular laws that also guarantee a right for a physician to practice conscientious objection, but that does not mean they are allowed not to put patients' needs first.

"It doesn't function in Croatia. Every doctor with conscientious objection, like those who work in the "Holy Spirit" hospital, which are massively refusing to do abortions, should work in a confessional hospital that should be funded by the Church. That's why we are demanding that confessional hospitals get established and that the institutional right for conscientious objection in public hospitals gets shut down, including pharmacy and transfusion medicine. It's a physician's obligation to provide services based on science, and not the religious dogma." - That's how the MD Jasenka Grujic-Koracin announces the initiative for the establishment of confessional hospitals, as just one of the series of projects the "Initiative of doctors for the regulation of conscientious objection in medicine" will pull off. The Initiative was presented to the public during the roundtable they've organized together with Center for education, counseling and research from Zagreb.


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