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Omicron Reinfection Rates, Abortion To Supreme Court, Battleaxosaurus

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Welcome to Thursday, where new Omicron findings arrive from South Africa, abortion rights are at risk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Tyrannosaurus rex has got some new competition. From Germany, we share the story of a landmark pharmacy turned sex toy museum.
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"My Body, My Choice" Counts For Vaccines — Not Just Abortion And Euthanasia

The decision not to get vaccinated against coronavirus is a personal one, a matter of individual freedom. But the fact that not everyone sees it this way shows the extent to which the pandemic has politicized the private sphere.

-Essay-

BERLIN — I don't know about you, but for the libertarian in me, at least, the past few weeks in Germany have been very difficult. Although I have long since reconciled myself to the idea that we need a certain measure of law, order and solidarity to enable us to live together in society, I strongly believe that we should keep state intervention in the lives of citizens to a minimum.

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Roe v. Wade And Beyond: The Battle For Abortion Rights Around The World

As many look to an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S., there are changes afoot around the world, from strict new bans and more subtle means for limiting access to surprising progress elsewhere for women's right to choose.

PARIS — While Roe v. Wade cemented abortion access in the United States almost 50 years ago, the pro-life fight to overturn the landmark legislation has long kept the United States in the global spotlight in the debate over reproductive healthcare.

A recent Texas law banning the procedure once cardiac activity is detected (about six weeks into pregnancy) has resulted in an 80% reduction in abortions in the country's second-largest state. Now, as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on November 1 to determine whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law, it's an opportune moment to also look at the status of legal abortions around the world.

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Taliban Government, Paris Attacks Trial, Lazy Tax Advisor

Welcome to Wednesday, where the Taliban unveil their government, crypto is plummeting after El Salvador embraces bitcoin and one lazy Swedish tax advisor gets busted. In Mexico, we meet the nurse who has become the face of pandemic fatigue.


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GAZETA WYBORCZA
Paweł Wroński

What Ireland Can Teach Poland About Abortion Rights

The 2012 death of Savita Halappanavar, who was unable to get an abortion in Ireland, set off nationwide opposition to a ban on the procedure. What happens when a similar case arises in Poland?

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Have Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his PiS political party allies ever heard about the tragedy that happened in Ireland eight years ago? Do they know what unfolded in a waiting room of the Galway Roscommon University Hospital?

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Society
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

How The Pandemic Is Limiting Access To Abortion

Across the globe, travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders and shifting health care priorities have combined to make abortion an even more difficult procedure to obtain.

As hospitals around the globe direct their attention and resources toward helping COVID-19 patients, other medical needs are, inevitably, getting less attention. One of those is women's reproductive health and access, in particular, to abortion, as evidenced in a recent study by the advocacy group Marie Stopes International. In a recent report, the organization noted that between January and June, in 37 countries, nearly two million fewer women received abortions than in the same period last year.

• Travel restrictions and bans have had an impact as well, limiting options for women in places ranging from the United States to Poland, as they are unable to access abortions in other states or countries where it is considered an essential procedure.

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Coronavirus
Frida Dahmani

In Tunisia, Women's Healthcare Is Collateral Damage Of COVID-19

The pandemic added an extra layer of obstacles for patients with already limited access to quality attention for their sexual and reproductive health needs.

TUNIS — Malek has been nursing for three weeks, but she still can't believe her eyes. "This birth is a small miracle," she says. "I was very afraid of the coronavirus and that something would happen to the baby."

The young mother says the anguish and confinement made her see the virus everywhere, even though she delivered her child in a private clinic where all precautions were taken. As her obstetrician, Faouzi Ariane, explains: "My facility has the strictest hygiene rules. It was especially important to manage the apprehensions of new parents."

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BBC

From Poland To Uruguay, What The Pandemic Means For Abortion

Across the globe, swamped hospitals and shelter-in-place measures have impacted people's access to healthcare for any number of non-COVID-19 issues. One of them is abortion, a time sensitive procedure that is also — even the best of times — both emotionally and politically charged.

Now, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries have used emergency decrees to change their policies related to pregnancy terminations. While several have extended access to abortions in an effort to ease pressure on women and guarantee their rights, others have seen the situation as an opportunity to make abortions more difficult to access.

  • In Poland, which has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, access to pregnancy terminations is now becoming even more difficult as women cannot easily travel to another country to undergo abortion. On top of that, Polish President Andrzej Duda backed in a citizen's bill last month that would outlaw abortion even when the fetus is malformed, the Catholic weekly Niedziela reported. So far, terminations in Poland have only been allowed when the fetus is malformed, the health or life of the mother is endangered, or in the event of rape or incest – with the first reason accounting for most in-country terminations. Although the bill was not passed, it was not rejected either, and is now idling in a parliamentary commission.

  • France: With overwhelmed hospitals and strict lockdown measures that until this week forced people to stay home, rights groups have raised concerns about the difficulty of accessing abortions during the epidemic, warning that some women would have to wait past the legal date. Under the normal, pre-pandemic circumstances, women can ask for prescribed abortion pills and take them at home up to seven weeks after their last menstruation, or up to nine weeks under medical supervision. But in early April, the French Health authority extended access to the medication at home up to nine weeks, to guarantee women's rights to access abortion during the epidemic and to avoid as much as possible that they go into a health facility, reported Le Parisien.

  • In the United States, abortion by telemedicine is expanding rapidly as several states, including Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma, suspended access to surgical abortions during the crisis, adding abortions on a list of "non-essential" procedures, The New York Times reported. The limited access to abortion means that many women must travel much further to abortion clinics, sometimes to different states where restrictions are milder. But with traveling also close to impossible, women resort more and more to "TelAbortion," a program that has been operating as a research study for several years and which allows women to have video consultations with certified doctors and then receive abortion pills by mail to take on their own. Concerned about the program's growth, Republican senators recently introduced a bill to ban it.

  • As a result of the pandemic, human rights organizations in Germany have warned that women might not be able to visit counseling centers, which is one of the conditions for legal abortion in the country. Access to abortion is also in danger due to the shortened opening hours of these centers, travel restrictions, shortage of medical personnel, lack of protective equipment and the fact that many doctors who perform abortions are at risk because of their age, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Women's Day Manifa march in Warsaw on March 8 — Photo: Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/ZUMA

  • The abortion issue is also making waves in Uruguay, one of just two countries in Latin America that allows women to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy. Abortion was legalized there in 2012, during the presidency of José Mujic (2010-2015), a leftist. But the country's new president, conservative Luis Lacalle Pou, opposes the practice, and in his inaugural address, on March 1, talked about defending the rights of "those who have no voice…the 10,000 children in this country who aren't born." Two months later, in a May 4 videoconference, the president reiterated his opposition to abortion, but also said he respects the laws of the land as they stand, the Uruguayan daily El País reports.

  • In Colombia, a high-profile court case linked to the country's decades-long civil war turned public attention to the issue of forced abortion. On May 11, a court in Pereira sentenced a man named Héctor Albeidis Arboleda Buitrago to more than 40 years in prison for carrying out numerous abortions, including on minors, at the behest of armed rebel groups. "El Enfermero" (The Nurse), as he's known, sold his services to different guerilla organizations over the course of seven years (1997-2004), the Colombian daily El Tiempo reports.

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GAZETA WYBORCZA
Monika Olejnik

Deep Fears For What Kind Of Poland Is Coming

The expected reelection of the conservative 'Law and Justice' (PiS) party could usher in new restrictions against the rights of people to live as they choose.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — By all indications, Sunday's national elections in Poland will bring another victory for Jaroslaw Kaczynski's "Law and Justice" (PiS) party, the national-conservative, Christian formation that has ruled the country for the past four years, and been in and out of power for nearly two decades. So, what will they do next?

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Sources

Modern Progressivism, The Making Of A New Inquisition

-OpEd-

Can you be a Christian and a politician? I'm not talking about a fundamentalist who would seek to apply Biblical precepts across all of society. I'm talking about a "moderate" Christian, one who knows how to distinguish between the moral principles that rule his life and the secular values that rule the life of the wider community.

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India
Jasvinder Sehgal

India, Where Baby Hatches Save Newborn Girls

In India’s patriarchal society, there’s a cultural tendency to favor boys, which leads to too many parents each year abandoning their baby girls. At least there is a way to avoid the worst outcome.

UDAIPUR — I'm at the reception desk of the city hospital in this northern Indian city, with doctors, nurses and patients walking by. But what catches my eye is a cradle resting alone in the corner.

Suddenly a bell rings and I see two nurses rushing towards it.

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GAZETA WYBORCZA
Katarzyna Wezyk

Poland's Abortion Battle, Why Free Women Are Done With Weak Men

Only when an abortion is legal, can we begin to speak of moral decisions and love. But men, we are told, are scared and frustrated by these protests. One Polish woman's frank words for men.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — A recent interview with Polish psychologist Pawel Drozdziak set off a renewed round of polemics following the massive nationwide protests this month against government proposals for strict bans on abortions in Poland.

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GAZETA WYBORCZA

The Day That Changed Polish Women Forever

The massive march in Warsaw and other protests against Poland's proposed strict new anti-abortion law is a revolutionary moment in what it means to be a Polish woman.

-Editorial-

WARSAW — It wasn't just a Polish women's protest. It was Polish women and men protesting the violation of their human rights and freedom by Poland's governing Law and Justice party. It was a demonstration to defend the progressive values of Poland against the parliament's majority, which is trying to change the country into a religiously fanatic nation. It was an outcry to protect the dignity of women.

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Geopolitics
Fabiano Maisonnave

New Brazil Study Finds Shocking Racial Discrepancy In Zika Cases

A new Brazilian report shows that far more babies born with microcephaly and other conditions linked to the Zika virus are black or mixed race. There are troubling explanations for this fact, including access to (illegal) abortion.

MANAUS — New figures published by the Brazilian Health Ministry show that eight out of ten babies born with microcephaly and other cortical alterations linked to the Zika virus are born from mothers who are black or mixed-race.

In Brazil's northeastern region, where the number of reported cases is the highest in the country, the proportion even reaches 93.9% in the state of Ceará, even though black and mixed-race women there represent 66.4% of the female population. Nationally, they make up for 49.9% of women.

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Sources
Jairo Marques*

Zika Shouldn't Legitimize Abortions Of Imperfect Babies

Science and medicine have yet to demonstrate exactly how and when Zika affects the brain of a fetus, yet people are rushing to conclude that abortion is the logical choice. A journalist with his own physical limitations weighs in.

-OpEd-


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