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.”
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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.”
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Abortion for fetal defects: two current arguments

Med Health Care and Philos (2017). doi:10.1007/s11019-017-9765-2
Author: Susana Nuccetelli
“A common utilitarian argument in favor of abortion for fetal defects rests on some controversial assumptions about what counts as a life worth living. Yet critics of abortion for fetal defects are also in need of an argument free from controversial assumptions about the future child’s quality of life. Christopher Kaczor has devised an analogy that apparently satisfies this condition. On close scrutiny, however, Kaczor’s analogy is too weak to debunk the common-morality intuition that at least some abortions for fetal defects are morally permissible. The upshot of this discussion is that, on the moral permissibility of abortions for fetal defects, a case-by-case approach is to be preferred.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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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.”
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Why critics say a Texas bill lets anti-abortion doctors lie to pregnant women

The Washington Post, 11 March 2017
Author: Peter Holley
“In announcing the proposed legislation in November, Creighton’s office said that the state senator from Conroe, near Houston, “took a stand for the unborn with a bill intended to protect doctors from legal pressure to recommend abortion. Based on legal precedent, doctors can be assigned liability for children born with abnormalities if they identified those abnormalities in utero and failed to advocate for termination, resulting in what’s termed a ‘wrongful birth.’” The bill’s opponents say S.B. 25 would create an incentive for antiabortion doctors to avoid conducting prenatal tests, of fully informing pregnant women of the test results — or even to lie to patients who might seek an abortion after learning their fetus has abnormalities.”
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