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National Abortion Federation Blog: Saporta Reporter

News about reproductive choice from the President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, Vicki Saporta. photo of Vicki Saporta
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  Remembering an American hero: George Tiller

We continue to mourn the loss of our friend and colleague, Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was a dedicated physician who provided quality abortion care to women, at great personal sacrifice and risk. He is truly a hero to his fellow abortion providers and his patients. Dr. Tiller’s office is filled with letters from women, thanking him for the excellent, compassionate care he provided. Many of these women say Dr. Tiller saved their lives.

Since his tragic death, we have received messages from some of his patients and from people around the world who are saddened and outraged. We feel it is important to share these words and tributes to our beloved colleague and friend. For the first time, we will enable comments on our blog so that all of you can share your condolences or offer memories of Dr. Tiller. We invite you to join us in honoring a true American hero, Dr. George Tiller.

Post your comments, condolences, and personal memories of Dr. Tiller

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Italian Doctors Refusing to Provide Abortion Care

Last week, the Italian Health Ministry reported that nearly 70 percent of gynecologists in the country now refuse to perform abortions on moral grounds. Although Italy legalized abortion in 1978, the Vatican has pushed for doctors to claim a “conscientious objection” and refuse to provide abortion care. The number of gynecologists claiming such an exemption rose from 58.7 percent to 69.2 percent, from 2003 to 2007, according to the Ministry.

When presenting these findings, outgoing Health Minister Livia Turco called on Italy's various regional health authorities to "guarantee an abortion service" despite the growing number of doctors who have moral objections to the procedure.

The Health Ministry also reported an increase in immigrant women seeking abortion care, despite a decrease in the rates of legal and illegal abortions.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Police Protection Pledged to Striking Clinics in Spain

Government officials in Madrid have pledged to protect abortion providers from violence and harassment after approximately 40 clinics began a five-day strike on Tuesday.

Soledad Mestre, a government delegate to Madrid, said local abortion clinics could solicit police protection against death threats or acts involving graffiti made by ultra-conservative or neo- Nazi groups.

The clinics began the strike to protest what they said was persecution by anti-abortion campaigners and government inspectors, who have swept clinics in recent weeks to crack down on illegal terminations. Recently, clinics have been vandalized and abortion providers have been harassed—and even assaulted—by anti-abortion protesters, according to the Association of Accredited Abortion Clinics, which organized the strike.

The striking clinics provide the majority of abortions in the country and the strike is estimated to affect as many as 2,000 women. However, the clinics are still accepting emergency cases during the strike.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Abortion Rate Declines Worldwide, But Illegal and Unsafe Abortions Remain a Problem

A new report shows the abortion rate declined more in developed countries, where abortion is generally safe and legal, than in developing countries, where the procedure is largely illegal and unsafe, according to “Induced Abortion: Rates and Trends Worldwide,” a new report released by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO) published in the October 13, 2007 issue of The Lancet.

The number of induced abortions worldwide has declined from nearly 46 million to under 42 million between 1995 and 2003. Abortion rates fell most significantly in Eastern Europe, a trend that corresponds with substantially increased contraceptive use in the region.

The study also found that an estimated 20 million unsafe abortions occurred in 2003, 97% of these in developing regions. The prevalence of unsafe abortion remains high, with up to 39 unsafe abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in Eastern Africa and 33 per 1,000 in South America. By contrast, developed regions, where almost all countries allow abortions with few restrictions, had an average unsafe abortion rate of two per 1,000.

The report concluded that reducing the incidence of unsafe abortion would result in an immediate and substantial reduction of maternal mortality and improve maternal health.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Irish Voters Support Abortion Under Certain Circumstances, Opinion Poll Says

Almost two-thirds of Irish voters favor abortion in cases where the fetus would not survive outside of the womb, according to an Irish opinion poll. Ireland currently has one of the strictest abortion bans in Europe. Over 6,000 Irish women travel to Britain every year to terminate their pregnancies.

Ireland’s abortion law has received international media attention over the last month due to the High Court of Dublin’s decision that allowed a 17-year-old girl in the care of the Health Service Executive - whose fetus had a fatal brain condition - to leave the country to obtain abortion care.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Portugal’s President Endorses Law to Legalize Abortion

Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva ratified a law Tuesday that legalizes abortion up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Last month Portugal’s parliament voted to legalize abortion following a popular referendum, which showed that 59.3 percent of voters were in favor of legalizing abortion. The old abortion law was one of the most rigid abortion bans in Europe, with the procedure prohibited except in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or if a woman's life or health was at risk. Portugal's Socialist Government now has 60 days to regulate the new law before it can be implemented.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Polish Woman Awarded Damages After Abortion Refusal

The European Court of Human Rights has awarded a Polish woman more than $30,000 in damages after she was refused an abortion despite warnings from her doctor that continuing the pregnancy could cause her to go blind. Alicja Tysiac suffers from severe myopia, and when she became pregnant for the third time in 2000 she consulted three ophthalmologists who each concluded her eyesight would be damaged further if she carried the pregnancy to term. However, despite Tysiac’s requests, all three doctors refused to issue a certificate for the pregnancy to be terminated on medical grounds, according to the court.

After giving birth Tysiac suffered a retinal hemorrhage which caused her vision to deteriorate significantly and she has been declared disabled by a panel of doctors. Poland currently has one of the strictest abortion bans in Europe, with the procedure only permitted in cases of rape or incest, fetal abnormality, or danger to the life or health of the woman. The court
ruled that Poland has no effective legal framework for pregnant women to assert their right to abortion on medical grounds.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Portugal Parliament Votes to Legalize Abortion

Last night Portugal’s parliament voted to legalize abortion up until the 10th week of pregnancy, just weeks after a popular referendum showed that 59.3 percent of voters were in favor of legalizing abortion. The referendum failed due to low voter turnout, but Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates pledged to honor the wishes of the voters and legalize abortion in Portugal. The old abortion law was one of the most rigid abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure banned except in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or if a woman's life or health was at risk.

Ricardo Rodrigues, a senior legislator called parliament’s vote, “
a turning point in Portugal's history,” and said that he hoped decriminalizing abortion will put an end to dangerous backstreet abortions. Each year over 20,000 Portuguese women put their lives at risk through dangerous self-induced or back-alley abortions, and thousands more terminate unwanted pregnancies in underground private clinics or travel to other countries with less restrictive abortion laws.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Voters in Portugal Support Overturning their Strict Abortion Ban

On Sunday, Portugal held a national referendum to legalize abortion up to the 10th week of pregnancy. While 59.3 percent of voters backed the measure, only about 44 percent of the electorate voted, short of the 50 percent turnout needed to amend Portugese law.

Following the lead of the voters, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has pledged to legalize abortion in Portugal.

Portugal currently has one of the most rigid abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure banned except in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or if a woman's life or health is at risk.

>View the BBC’s Analysis

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Portugal Referendum Could Legalize Abortion

This Sunday Portugal will hold a national referendum to legalize abortion up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Portugal currently has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure banned except in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or if a woman's life or health is at risk.

Criminalization of abortion has not reduced the number of women seeking abortion care in Portugal. According to a
Reuters article, over 20,000 Portuguese women put their lives at risk each year through dangerous self-induced or back-alley abortions. Thousands more women terminate unwanted pregnancies in underground private clinics or travel to other countries with less restrictive abortion laws.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Portugal Sets Referendum to Legalize Abortions

Portugal's parliament has agreed to call a national referendum to legalize abortion care up to the 10th week of pregnancy.

Currently Portugal has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, with the procedure only allowed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or if a mother's health is at risk.

Each year in Portugal thousands of women are hospitalized due to complications from botched backstreet abortions.

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