. Group of pregnant women and women with children. Vector illustration

#MaternalHealthAwarenessDay: Three Policies to Push

By Joelle Boxer

Today is Maternal Health Awareness Day, focused on the theme “Access in Crisis.”

“Crisis” is the right word, yet still an understatement. In the U.S., for every 100,000 live births in 2021, nearly 33 pregnant people lost their lives. In Norway, that number was 2. Black and Native American women in the U.S. are particularly at risk, with death rates 2-3 times higher than those of white women, due to structural racism.

What can the law do to prevent these deaths? Medicaid pays for more than 40% of births in the U.S., covering 64% of Black mothers and 66% of Native American mothers. Examining efforts at the federal and state level, I highlight three options, leveraging Medicaid as a policy lever.

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Rows of gold post office boxes with one open mail box.

Plan to See ‘Plan C’ This Year

By Joelle Boxer

Tracy Droz Tragos’ new documentary, “Plan C,” follows the work of a grassroots organization dedicated to improving access to the abortion pill by mail in the U.S., while navigating an increasingly restrictive legal landscape.

There is no better time to hear the perspectives of these patients, providers, and activists. Just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court took on a case to determine the legal status of the pill, also called mifepristone. With a decision expected in June 2024, Tragos’ film shows us what’s at stake.

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State of California flag on a flagpole.

California’s Reproductive Freedom Efforts Should Meaningfully Include People With Disabilities

By Joelle Boxer

Last month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of nine reproductive health care bills, following the passage of fifteen such bills in 2022. While the state should be lauded for its efforts, it has come up short. Recent legislation largely excludes up to 25% of the adult population: Californians with disabilities.

People with disabilities in the U.S. experience wide disparities in accessing reproductive health care, rooted in a long history of oppressive reproductive control. California should take action now to address these disparities and fulfil its goal of becoming a “reproductive freedom state” for all.

This article will examine recent movement on reproductive health care legislation in California, explain its failure to meet the needs of Californians with disabilities, and suggest a path forward in line with principles of disability reproductive justice.

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Women take part in a march in defense of legal abortion on International Safe Abortion Day at Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on September 28, 2023.

Why We Still Need a Day for Global Action to Decriminalize Abortion in Latin America

By Alma Beltrán y Puga

More than 30 years have passed since women gathered for the Fifth Feminist Latin American Meeting in Argentina and launched the September 28th Campaign in favor of decriminalizing abortion in the region.

The initiative, however, remains painfully relevant, as still today most countries in Central America and the Caribbean prohibit abortion even in cases of sexual violence and instances where the pregnant woman’s health (and, potentially, life) is at stake. Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic hold the most restrictive abortion laws in the region.

Change may happen soon, though, as the Interamerican Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is set to decide an abortion case from El Salvador; the case of Beatriz, which hopefully will catalyze reform to discriminatory abortion laws.

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United States Capitol Building - Washington, DC.

How Comparative Law Can Counter Threats to the ‘Most Successful Global Health Program in Modern History’

By Joelle Boxer

PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, is under threat. Some members of Congress are withholding reauthorization support while arguing, without evidence, that PEPFAR funds abortion.

This is untrue: U.S. law prohibits PEPFAR from funding abortion. That alone should resolve the current impasse and secure the program’s reauthorization. Should bad faith opponents require further reassurance, however, they need look no further than the local legal realities of the 25 countries and 3 regions where PEPFAR operates.

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Puebla, Mexico - September 28, 2020: With green scarves, members of feminist collectives demonstrate in the streets of the Historic Center of Puebla to demand the legalization of abortion.

Sex Equality in #SeptiembreVerde: Examining the Mexican Supreme Court’s Abortion Decriminalization Decision

By Joelle Boxer

Earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a ruling decriminalizing abortion nationwide, setting a powerful example in the global trend of abortion law liberalization, including on the grounds of sex equality.

Hailed as “incredible” by reproductive justice advocates, the decision will be most impactful in the 20 Mexican states where local laws still criminalize abortion, potentially removing access barriers for more than 42 million women.

This article will explain the origins of the case, what the decision holds, and what it says about sex equality.

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New York NY USA-July 8, 2023 Advertising for the Warner Bros. Pictures Barbie film in Times Square in New York.

Barbie’s Utopia and (the Absence of) Social Rights

By Alma Beltrán y Puga

Is Barbie feminist? Is Greta Gerwig’s script based on ideas of gender equality? The movie is certainly appreciated for promoting a global discussion on feminist ideas and gender roles. But answering these questions is complicated. Barbie opens in a version of a feminist utopia: a world where women are rulers and men servants. These inverted political gender roles are based on radical feminist theories that consider women’s liberation will only be possible when feminist values, such as care and dialogue, are taken seriously, and women in power embrace them. However, Barbie Land is a portrait of this feminist fantasy with too much pink and a very basic liberal idea of the State: civil and political rights are the fundamental rights of society.

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Remarkable macro view through the microscope at process of the in vitro fertilization of a female egg inside IVF dish in the laboratory. Horizontal.

That’s Criminal: The Choices Fertility Specialists May Have to Make

By Gerard Letterie

Fertility care operates in a delicate emotional space that demands complete trust across the consult table. Trust that decisions will be made with the patient’s best interests. Trust that guidance will be offered exclusive of any other competing influence, be it financial, personal, or convenience.

In a post-Dobbs setting, new, restrictive laws may disrupt this delicate equilibrium. This concern is materializing with an increasing velocity as states look to further limit reproductive autonomy.

Next in the crosshairs might be the disposition of embryos in the context of IVF. Dobbs has energized the pro-life movement to expand beyond abortion to other reproductive technologies within the context of the catchphrase “life begins at conception.”

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La Plata, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina; 12 04 2020: Claim of legalization of abortion in Argentina. Woman with green scarves protested in front of the church.

Decriminalizing Abortion in Argentina: 8 Takeaways from the Inflection Point of Legalization

By Alicia Ely Yamin

In December of 2020, Argentina’s Congress passed Law 27.610, which overhauled the country’s previously restrictive legal framework on abortion. Law 27.610, “Access to Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy,” created two kinds of legal abortion: (i) IVE (its acronym in Spanish, which translates to “Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy”), which allows any person to request an abortion up to 14 weeks gestation; and (ii) ILE (which stands for “Legal Interruption of Pregnancy”), which makes abortion available at any point in a pregnancy for cases involving rape, and where there is a threat to the life or “integral health” of the pregnant person.

Around the world, when countries have taken steps to liberalize abortion access, these new laws have proven challenging to implement, as in Ireland and South Africa. As with any country, lessons from Argentina are deeply contextualized. Nonetheless, the Argentine experience offers insights to consider for countries at different stages of abortion struggles.

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