Pregnant woman in El Salvador whose life was in danger has been allowed a caesarean section

BMJ 2013; 3 June 2013

Author: Sophie Arie

“El Salvador’s health ministry has found a way round the country’s strict abortion laws by approving a caesarean section for a woman who is 26 weeks pregnant and whose life is at risk.

The 22 year old has lupus and kidney failure, and doctors have warned that the risk of her death will rise as the pregnancy continues.1 The fetus has anencephaly and would almost certainly die soon after birth…”

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Doctor denies killing patients to free up beds

ABC News, By Henry Milleo, April 2, 2013

“The Brazilian doctor charged with murdering seven hospital patients, and who is under investigation for hundreds more suspicious deaths, has pleaded her innocence outside court. Along with three doctors and two nurses from the same unit, de Souza has been charged with the murder of seven patients since 2006, while a physiotherapist and a nurse face lesser charges.”

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Uruguay’s mandatory breast cancer screening for working women aged 40-59 is challenged

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1907 21 March 2013

Author: Sophie Arie

“…A decree issued in 2006 by the then president, Tabaré Vázquez, an oncologist, made biennial screening for breast cancer a part of a series of regular, state funded health checks that female employees must complete to get the “health card” that all workers need.

A 52 year old state sector computer engineer is the first person known to have refused screening. She recently began legal proceedings to seek an exemption from the country’s health ministry…”

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Brazil’s Philosophy of Free Plastic Surgery. Is Beauty a Right?

Brazzil, By Alisha Webb, Feb 4, 2013

“Although common in much of the western world, plastic surgery is something that is seen as an almost taboo subject by many. Nearly everyone has seen the effects of the surgeries either through celebrities who go under the knife, or popular ‘before and after photos’, however those who actually elect to have the surgeries performed are relatively few and far between.  This, however, is not true everywhere in the world. Brazilian culture has grown to be very open about plastic surgeries, and is a culture that believes everyone has the right to look beautiful. To better understand this Brazilian mindset, one must look at the history of the culture, what exactly is available, and the impact it could have going forward. Brazilian clinics began giving out free plastic surgery procedures since 1997, opening the market to the poor and impoverished across the nation. The discounted or free surgeries were seen as a way to improve the lives of people throughout the country in a manner similar to a psychiatrist.”

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Taking Calls on Abortion, and Risks, in Chile

New York Times, By Aaron Nelsen, January 3, 2013

“Every time the phone rings, Angela Erpel feels her nerves swell. Sometimes it is a scared teenager on the other end, or a desperate mother of three. There are the angry ones, too, with callers playing the sounds of crying babies or sending text messages with pictures of aborted fetuses.  In a country where abortion is entirely illegal, even in cases of rape or when a woman’s life is in danger, the hot line is a risky endeavor. Operating in a legal gray area, volunteers face a daunting prison sentence if a conversation veers too far from a lawyer-approved script. The hot line already has had three lawsuits brought against it, though all were eventually dropped. According to the law, having an abortion carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison, depending on the circumstances, while doctors and others who perform an abortion or assist with one could face up to 15 years, prosecutors say. In practice, however, fewer than 500 cases have been prosecuted over the last several years.”

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Is abortion worldwide becoming more restrictive?

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8161 4 December 2012

Author: Sophie Arie

“In recent decades, abortion has become legal in all but five countries if a mother’s life is threatened. There has also been a general decline in the numbers of abortions worldwide as contraception has become more widely available. But World Health Organization figures show that the decline has slowed recently. So what’s going on? Is there a general shift towards tighter restrictions? Are people being discouraged from using family planning as populations dwindle? And is that forcing more women to take clandestine routes to terminate unwanted pregnancies?”

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