NHMRC releases updated assisted reproductive technology guidelines

NHMRC, 20 April 2017
“The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) today released the Ethical guidelines on the use of assisted reproductive technology in clinical practice and research, 2017 (ART guidelines). This update replaces the 2007 ART guidelines and provides contemporary ethical guidance for the conduct of ART in the clinical setting. The ART guidelines articulate ethical principles and, when read in conjunction with federal and state or territory legislation, create a robust framework for the conduct of ART in Australia.”
Find media release and guideline here.

National guidelines oppose push to allow parents to choose sex of IVF babies

SMH, 20 April 2017
Author: Kate Aubusson
“Australia’s peak medical council has knocked back a push to allow parents to choose the gender of their baby in new national guidelines. On Thursday, the NHMRC banned clinics from offering gender selection for non-medical purposes in its long-anticipated guidelines for assisted reproductive technologies (ART). But the National Health and Medical Research Council left the door open for future changes, suggesting sex selection may be ethical.”
Find article here.

The Hyde Amendment at 40 Years and Reproductive Rights in the United States

JAMA. 2017;317(15):1523-1524.
Authors: Eli Y. Adashi; Rachel H. Occhiogrosso
“On September 30, 1976, in the waning months of the 94th Congress, freshman Representative Henry J. Hyde (R-IL) witnessed his namesake amendment enacted into law via the Departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare Appropriation Act of 1977 (PL 94-439). All of one sentence, the amendment stipulated that “None of the [Medicaid] funds contained in this Act shall be used to perform abortions except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”
Find article here.

Why Assam’s two-child policy plan is being criticised by public health experts

ScrollIn, 13 April 2017
Author: Arunabh Saikia
“India: Assam’s health minister unveiled the draft of a new population policy for the state. It proposes, among other things, to penalise people who have more than two children. If the draft were to become law, they would be ineligible for government jobs and benefits, and be barred from contesting all elections held under the aegis of the state election commission.”
Find article here.

New Brunswick becomes first Canada province to offer free abortion pill

The Guardian, 6 April 2017
Author: Julien Gignac
“New Brunswick has become the first province in Canada to distribute an abortion pill for free. Access to publicly funded abortion in New Brunswick was restricted from the 1980s until 2015. During that period, Medicare would only cover an abortion at one of the province’s two approved facilities if two doctors had certified that it was necessary for medical reasons. The provincial health minister announced that women will be entitled to receive Mifegymiso without payment if they have a valid healthcare card.”
Find article here.

Abortion care in Canada is decided between a woman and her doctor, without recourse to criminal law

BMJ 2017; 356: j1506
Authors: W V Norman, J Downie
“As the UK debates decriminalisation of abortion and people wonder about the effects it might have, it may be useful to consider the Canadian experience of nearly 30 years without a criminal law to police access to abortion.”
Find article here.

Decriminalisation in the NT signals abortion is part of normal health care

The Conversation, 24 March 2017
Author: Suzanne Belton
“The Northern Territory parliament this week passed a bill decriminalising abortion up to 24 weeks’ gestation, removing the requirement of parental approval for abortions in teenagers and providing early medical abortions with tablets.”
Find article here.

Decriminalisation of abortion

BMJ 2017; 356: j1485
Author: Clare Dyer
“In the year that sees the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act 1967, which created a framework for legal termination, campaigners argue that the time has come for abortion to be decriminalised in England and Wales. A coalition of 20 organisations, We Trust Women, says that women who choose abortion should no longer risk life imprisonment under a law dating back to the Victorian era, when only men could vote. The organisations include the Royal College of Midwives and Doctors for a Woman’s Choice on Abortion. The BMA has no policy on decriminalisation but set out possible options in a recent discussion paper.”
Find article here.

Support building for landmark move to overturn El Salvador’s anti-abortion law

The Guardian, 23 March 2017
Author: Nina Lakhani
“El Salvador’s controversial law banning abortion in all circumstances, which has provoked ruthless miscarriages of justice, could be overturned in what has been described as a historic move. Momentum is building around a parliamentary bill proposing to allow abortion in cases of rape or human trafficking; when the foetus in unviable; or to protect the pregnant woman’s health or life. Prominent church groups, doctors, lawyers and ethicists have spoken out in favour of loosening restrictions.”
Find article here.

Could Roe v. Wade be overturned?

The Conversation, 20 March 2017
Author: B. Jessie Hill
“But the real danger may be not so much that things will radically change – it’s that they’ll remain the same. From my vantage point as a constitutional law professor who also litigates reproductive rights cases, the landscape looks about as treacherous as it ever has.”
Find article here.