Illinois lawmakers delay bill to expand abortion as veto looms

Reuters, 11 May 2017
Author: Timothy Mclaughlin
“Democratic lawmakers in Illinois on Thursday said they have placed on hold a bill that expands state-funded coverage of abortions for low-income residents and state employees but faces a likely veto from the state’s Republican governor. The bill also aims to keep abortions legal in Illinois. The Illinois’ Medicaid program covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and when a mother’s life or health is threatened. The expansion would enable poor women to obtain elective abortions. Also, the legislation would allow state employees to have the procedures covered under state health insurance.”
Find article here.

Abortion law in NSW radically out of step with opinion and practice

SMH, 10 May 2017
Author: Julie Hamblin
“When the NSW Parliament debates the abortion law reform bill on Thursday, politicians could well reflect on why, in 2017, a bill to take abortion out of the Crimes Act should even be considered controversial. Of course minds differ about the morality of abortion, as one would expect in any society of diverse faiths, but that abortion is still a crime in NSW, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, is a sad reminder of how poorly our laws keep pace with social opinion.”
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Fertility regulator launches inquiry into ‘cash for eggs’ claims

The Guardian, 2 May 2017
Author: Haroon Siddique
“The fertility regulator has launched an investigation into allegations that IVF clinics are inducing women to donate eggs in return for free or discounted treatment. Women on low incomes who have healthy eggs but cannot get pregnant are being given complimentary treatment or offered a discount if they donate eggs at some clinics, which then resell them for a large profit. Egg sharing, where women receive IVF as a benefit in kind in return for donating eggs, is legal but there are strict rules on the information that should be provided to potential donors and how consent is obtained.”
Find article here.

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.