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.
This bill was first proposed in September of last year by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in response to incidents of harassment, which included doctors being forced to the ground and clinic entrances being blocked. This legislation has enjoyed widespread support from the public, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Blog Examines Potential Rise in Clinic Violence under Pro-Choice Administration
Since the inauguration of President Obama, anti-choice extremists have become increasingly harassing and abusive towards clinics. Yesterday, RH Reality Check examined the potential of increased clinic violence in its blog. Included is commentary from many NAF members, including Claire Keyes, former Director of NAF member Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, Elizabeth Barnes, Executive Director of NAF member Philadelphia Women’s Center, and Tammi Kromenaker, Director of NAF member Red River Women’s Clinic.
We know that political losses often provoke anti-abortion extremists to retaliate, so clinics need to increase their security awareness. Law enforcement is key to keeping the peace. In places where police respond quickly, stopping infractions against patients and staff--whether through locally passed ordinances or by invoking the federal FACE Act--anti-abortion violence does not usually escalate. In contrast, in places where the police do not enforce the law, anti-abortion extremists often push the envelope and engage in criminal activity.
From the Supreme Court to states such as South Dakota, some politicians and government officials have been willing to mislead or manipulate women with inaccurate claims about the impact of abortion on a woman’s health. This report underscores the importance of providing nonjudgmental, medically accurate information, so that every woman can make the best decision for her particular circumstances.
There have been several cited cases of violence against clinicians and patients in California, including this year’s attempted arson of an abortion clinic in Northern California. SB 1770 provides law enforcement with essential tools in the fight to keep California providers and patients safe from anti-abortion violence and harassment.
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.
The Health Dangers and High Costs of Unsafe Abortion
This month’s issue of the UK publication id21 health focus addresses the health dangers and economic impact of unsafe abortion. The issue highlights the findings of a technical meeting held at the Institute of Development Studies (UK) in April.
Unsafe abortion is a major global public health problem particularly affecting low-income women. The World Health Organization estimates that 68,000 women worldwide die from unsafe abortions annually and millions more are injured, many permanently. Ensuring safe, legal, and accessible abortion care promotes health and justice for women.
The issue also features articles on ways to reduce abortion costs to health systems and necessary advances in international abortion policy.
African Leaders Call for Legalized, Safe Abortion Care
This week leaders from ten African nations called for legislation to end unsafe abortion during a conference in Kenya, which addressed the application of international and regional human rights agreements to reduce the maternal mortality rate in Africa.
According to Kenyan Vice-President Moody Awori, 100 women die daily from unsafe abortion in Africa, and of the 19 million women who undergo unsafe abortion yearly, 4.2 million are in Africa. Awori said urgent solutions were needed to end unsafe abortion.
A protocol that authorizes legal abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life or health of the woman has been ratified by 21 African countries including Tanzania and Rwanda. Kenya and Uganda have signed, but not ratified the protocol on women’s rights in Africa, however Awori said in a speech that ratification was “high on Kenya’s agenda.”