Pin pennants with pride and don your hometown hero jerseys! All DA China members are welcome to join as we discuss updates, progress and rock rally caps on Monday, August 16th.Currently accepting photo submissions from recent events, as well as members showcasing their DACN and/or USA swag. Please submit via e-mail: [email protected], or via WeChat: DemocratsAbroad. Pictures submitted by August 15th will make it into the presentation.The Board will begin the process of voting on Bylaws at this meeting. First at bat is a DPCA amendment. On deck is the selection of a third DPCA voting member. Keep an eye out for further announcements regarding the agenda and voting. Members are encouraged to join the conversation! Please be sure to submit all additions and amendments to the Bylaws & Rules Committee prior to August 16th.Submission form:Come join us as we round out the third meeting of the term! ⚾️WHENAugust 16, 2021 at 8pmWHEREZoom - RSVP for link
Andrea Host-Barth published Tackling Structural Barriers to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Events 2021-07-27 10:06:54 -0400
Leading with Purpose: Tackling Structural Barriers to Diversity, Equity and InclusionProfessor Kanter will unravel questions such as: Where has there been progress? What challenges and pitfalls remain? What issues are universal, and which vary by ethnicity, race, and social class? How can we “think outside the building” (beyond current structures and constraints) to mobilize activists for a more just and equitable world? Join us on Tuesday, September 21st at 11 am EDT to gain insights from this formidable leader on working towards a more just and equitable world.RSVP below! You will receive your link with a reminder mail shortly before the event.
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER
Rosabeth Moss Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, specializing in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights guide leaders worldwide through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations, governments, and start-up ventures. She co-founded the Harvard University-wide Advanced Leadership Initiative, guiding its planning from 2005 to its launch in 2008 and serving as Founding Chair and Director from 2008-2018 as it became a growing international model for a new stage of higher education preparing successful top leaders to apply their skills to national and global challenges. Author or co-author of 20 books, her latest book, Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time, has won a number of accolades.
The former chief Editor of Harvard Business Review, Professor Kanter has been repeatedly named to lists such as the “50 most powerful women in the world” (Times of London), and the “50 most influential business thinkers in the world” (Thinkers 50, and in November 2019 received their biannual Lifetime Achievement Award). She has received 24 honorary doctoral degrees, as well as numerous leadership awards, lifetime achievement awards, and
prizes. These include Distinguished Career Awards from the Academy of Management and the American Sociological Association (Organizations, Occupations and Work Section); the World Teleport Association's “Intelligent Community Visionary of the Year” award; the Pinnacle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce; the International Leadership Award from the Association of Leadership Professionals; the Warren Bennis Award for Leadership Excellence; the Everett Rogers Innovation Award from the Norman Lear Center for media and society; and several Harvard Business Review McKinsey Awards for the years’ best articles. Other awards honor her thought leadership and community impact.
Before Think Outside the Building, her previous book, MOVE: Putting America's Infrastructure Back in the Lead, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, is a sweeping look across industries and technologies shaping the future of mobility and the leadership required for transformation. Her book The Change Masters was named one of the most influential business books of the 20th century (Financial Times); SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good, one of the ten best business books of the year by Amazon.com; Evolve! Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow, one of the five best books of the year by the Toronto Star. Her book Confidence: How Winning & Losing Streaks Begin & End, a New York Times bestseller (also a #1 Business Week bestseller), describes the culture of high-performance organizations compared with those in decline and shows how to lead turnarounds, whether in businesses, schools, sports teams, or countries. Men & Women of the Corporation, winner of the C. Wright Mills award for the best book on social issues and often called a classic, offers insight into the individual and organizational factors that promote success or perpetuate disadvantage for women; a related video, A Tale of ‘O’: On Being Different, is a widely-used tool for diversity training. A related book, Work & Family in the United States, set a policy agenda, honored by a coalition of university centers creating in her honor the Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for the best work/family research. Another award-winning book, When Giants Learn to Dance, shows how to master the new terms of competition at the dawn of the global information age. World Class: Thriving Locally in the Global Economy identifies the dilemmas of globalization for cities, a theme continuing in her book MOVE.
She advises numerous CEOs and senior executives through her consulting group and also serving as a Senior Advisor for IBM’s Global Citizenship portfolio from 1999-2012. She has served on many business and non-profit boards, such as City Year, the urban “Peace Corps” addressing the school dropout crisis through national service, and on commissions including the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, the U.S. Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and others. She speaks widely, and has shared the platform with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and CEOs at major events, such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and national industry conferences in over 20 countries. Before joining the Harvard Business School faculty, she held tenured professorships at Yale University and Brandeis University and was a Fellow at Harvard Law School, simultaneously holding a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan. --December 2020
Location Local Event Start Time Vancouver, Canada 8:00 AM Minneapolis, USA 10:00 AM Washington DC, USA 11:00 AM London, UK 4:00 PM Frankfurt, Germany 5:00 PM Nairobi, Kenya 7:00 PM Dubai, UAE 8:00 PM Bangkok, Thailand 11:00 PM Beijing, China 12:00 AM + 1 dayWHENSeptember 21, 2021 at 11amWHEREWebinar
Message from DA Spain Chair and Vice-Chair
Happy July, friends! It’s summertime, and according to the Gershwins, the livin’ is easy. We’re taking this sentiment to heart here at DA Spain and not filling the schedule with activities and Zoom calls. But we do want to share a few items with you this month.
Even as the calendar remains blissfully empty, lots of work is going on behind the scenes. As always, our focus is on electing Democrats at all levels of government. To that end, the Executive Committee has been working on long-term planning to prepare for next year’s midterm elections. The emphasis this fall will most likely be on increasing membership, registering voters, and recruiting volunteers for the work ahead.
Similarly, DA Spain has a number of national-level committees with work underway. You see it, for example, in the newsletter you’re reading now. The Communications Committee has been hard at it. Likewise, the Bylaws Committee has been working on revising our governing rules to update and strengthen our infrastructure. This latter initiative is being helped along by our new intern, Ryan Eijkholt, a US College student from Texas studying in Spain. So the pot bubbles, even if the stove may look cold.
But as this newsletter demonstrates, the real work - and the real fun - of DA is in the activities where people gather to work and play together. The chapters, the caucuses, and the individuals who are highlighted below show us the myriad ways in which participating in DA Spain benefits us all. So enjoy the summer, bask in the sun and in companionship, and keep an eye out as we gear up again in September.
– Daniel James (chair) and Kathy Tullos (vice-chair)
On August 1, start the month off right by having your Sunday morning coffee or tea with DA Saxony! We will be discussing some of the big upcoming decisions at the DA global level, and you will have the opportunity to share your ideas and views with the two DPCA voting representatives from our chapter who will be voting on our behalf. Never been to a meeting before? No problem! It's a great chance to get to know our lovely chapter members and organization. RSVP to receive the log-in link.WHENAugust 01, 2021 at 9:30amWHEREZoom
Please RSVP to receive the link
Leipzig, Sachsen 04109
Google map and directions
Violence Against Women Team
Volunteer Briefing Meetings
Join us on August 16, 2021, at 12 PM ET / 6 PM Paris for the VAW Volunteer Briefing Meeting.
(Monthly briefings/meetings through December 20, 2021)
The Violence Against Women Team is conducting a research project addressing the situation of American Women and their children who may encounter situations of gender-based violence while living or travelling abroad. Please join us at a briefing session to learn more about the project and to see if it may be a volunteer effort in which you'd like to be involved. We are starting in 5 countries but will be expanding as soon as we are able to leverage the learning we gained exploring the initial countries. The basic requirements are curiosity, organization, determination and a desire to help better the situation for victims of violence.WHENAugust 16, 2021 at 12pmWHERERSVP for Zoom link
Message from DA Spain Chair and Vice-Chair
According to the old song, June is bustin’ out all over, and DA Spain is just as busy.
For starters, several of your Executive Committee members attended the virtual Global DA meeting last month. We voted on changes to the organization’s bylaws and considered several resolutions. But the highlight of the meeting was the election of new DA Global officers, and we’re happy to report that the organizational leadership is experienced and already getting started on preparations for the midterm elections next year. As a bonus, the new Global Chair, Candice Kerestan of Germany, met with the DA Spain Executive Committee just a few days ago to talk about her plans and to solicit feedback on potential projects.
The other current big push in DA Spain is the staffing of our new teams. In May, the Executive Committee authorized the creation of five teams: Strategic Communications, Get Out the Vote, Finance, Bylaws Revision, and Member Onboarding and Training. You’ll hear more from these bodies as they begin their work, but all of them will play essential roles in helping organize and grow DA Spain. And each team is welcoming new members, so lots of opportunities are available if you’d like to get more involved.
Our focus on these two occurrences is in no way intended to downplay the other great work being done in DA Spain. Chapters continue to offer high quality programs, the Women’s Caucus is growing in membership and is hosting interesting events, we’re celebrating Pride Month…. You get the idea. Please take a few minutes to read through the newsletter and find out if there are opportunities you’d like to take advantage of. And let us know if you have questions or comments.
Daniel James, Chair, DA Spain
Kathy Tullos, Vice-Chair, DA Spain
Message from DA Spain Chair and Vice-Chair
And you thought New Kids on the Block was a boy band
Greetings from your new DA Spain Chair and Vice-Chair! Although we are both relatively new to DA, we are both very happy to be involved in this great organization and committed to making the most of our time in office.
Here’s a bit of background. Daniel worked in public service for 34 years and worked in The US House of Representatives and USDA. Kathy is a retired lawyer and law professor who splits her time between Central Texas and southeastern Spain (specifically, Torrevieja, near Alicante). She’s also a murder mystery aficionado, wife, mom, and relatively recent grandmother.
Although we are very different people, we share a single, overriding goal for DA Spain: to elect Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. We both believe that Biden’s victory in 2020 can lead to complacency on the part of Democratic voters. In the meantime, Republican voter suppression measures in several states will make it more difficult to elect Democrats to support and enhance Biden’s agenda.
Our team is rounded out by our recently elected secretary, Katharine Giery who hails from San Sebastian and Christina Samson of Madrid who is assuming the role of treasurer that she previously held in her home chapter.
Next week we will be joined by our newly elected Voting Reps Jo-Angela Touza Medina of Vigo, Laura Rostowfske and Chris Reilly of Barcelona and Jim Mercereau of Madrid as we attend the virtual Global Annual Meeting in the Asian time zone. Meeting start time is 3AM our time. We will be voting for the new leadership of Democrats Abroad Global and a series of Resolutions and By-Law changes. We will be drinking a lot of coffee.
So thank you for entrusting these offices to us. We’re hoping to make you proud in the coming months. And please contact us if you have ideas or feedback! Our inboxes are always open.
Andrea Host-Barth published Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative in Issues & Actions 2021-05-06 02:26:14 -0400
Welcome to the Women's Economic Empowerment InitiativeSee all posts
Posted by Ann Hesse · June 14, 2021 12:00 AM · 1 reaction
Andrea Host-Barth published Spain Women's Caucus Welcome in Women's Caucus 2021-04-14 05:37:49 -0400
DA Spain Women's Caucus says Hola!
Twenty people attended the preliminary organizational meeting of the Democrats Abroad Spain Women’s Caucus on March 18.
The meeting opened with participants’ introductions and a presentation by Ann Hesse, Chair of the DA Global Women’s Caucus (GWC). Ann provided a quick history of the GWC and laid out its three pillars: Education; Community Building; and Activism, particularly in the form of get-out-the-vote efforts. Approximately 10,000 women currently belong to the GWC. Over 300 of those members live in Spain.
Next up, moderator Andrea Host-Barth led the discussion, turning the focus to goals and organizational steps for a DA Spain Women’s Caucus. The Caucus intends to focus initially on providing education on environmental issues, and building community with small, local events. Members were encouraged to support the call-to-action initiatives already available on the GWC website.
The Caucus hopes to play two other roles as well. First, the Caucus can interact with the GWC, helping members in Spain and members of the worldwide group to share ideas and coordinate activities. Second, the DA Spain Women’s Caucus can serve as a template for creating Women’s Caucuses in other countries.
DA Spain’s Women’s Caucus is moving forward in its organizational process. The Caucus welcomes people of all genders as leaders, members, and volunteers.
Interested in starting your country women’s caucus? Send email to [email protected]
What a shame that there’s even a need for the ERA! But there is and I want my grandchildren, who live in Florida, to grow up knowing they have the right to be treated fairly, equally and with respect. As a young adult ready to head out into the real world as a woman, no one told me I could or should go to college. My parents encouraged my brothers to go to college or follow their dreams, but for me it was a given that I would get married, have kids, and be a homemaker. Instead, I joined the military then used the GI Bill benefit to pay for my education. The US was a republic for 150 years before women got the right to vote. In 50 years we haven’t been able to get the ERA passed. It’s time to pass the ERA now! -- Andrea Host-Barth: Living in Spain; Voting in Florida
Andrea Host-Barth published Is Motherhood For Sale? in Reproductive Justice 2021-02-21 09:36:34 -0500
Buried in that nearly 400-page New York State budget was a provision to legalize reproductive commercial surrogacy. Passed without the opportunity for legislative hearings or public debates, the law came into effect on February 15, 2021. Many countries, such as France, have banned reproductive surrogacy for many reasons. The DA Global Women’s Caucus Reproductive Justice Action Team takes this matter seriously and will be organizing a webex soon. In the interim, the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women is holding a webinar Feb. 25, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST for At the Edge of the Margins: New York legalizes commercial surrogacy — now what? This webinar is open to the public and you can register here.
Buried in that nearly 400-page New York State budget was a provision tolegalize reproductive commercial surrogacy. Passed without the opportunity for legislative hearings or public debates, the law came into effect on February 15, 2021. Many countries, such as France, have banned reproductive surrogacy for many reasons. The DA Global Women’s Caucus Reproductive Justice Action Team takes this matter seriously and will be organizing a webex soon. In the interim, the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women is holding a webinar Feb. 25, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. EST for At the Edge of the Margins: New York legalizes commercial surrogacy — now what? This webinar is open to the public and you can register here.
Spotlighting Three Black Women in Biden’s New Administration
By: Jamie McAfee, Communications Co-Chair, Global Women’s Caucus
Vice President Kamala Harris, Georgian heroine Stacey Abrams and National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman made headlines around the world for their historic achievements. Their stages were broad, glittering with lights, flashbulbs popping, iPhones recording and reporters shouting. Notoriety well-earned and deserved, African American women are walking across the international stage filled with hope that this change in the air, swept in by Black women voters, is permanent. Black women fought to mobilize voters, and on-the-ground efforts helped turnout people of color, pushing Biden to victory. During his acceptance speech in Philadelphia, President-elect Biden acknowledged the groundswell of support from Black voters throughout the election process when he stated, “…especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest—the African-American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours.”
Since the Inauguration, the new administration has tackled various crises that directly impact communities of color, but President Biden is going beyond policy. He seems to be living up to his campaign promises by staffing his cabinet to look like America, starting with the selection of Harris as his running mate after a contentious primary. With over 1200 Senate-confirmed appointments to fill, we look at three Black women President Biden has nominated for leadership positions. Each woman has a unique, inspirational story worth exploring beyond these introductions.
Vaccination Hesitancy Remains for Certain Populations
By: Stayce Camparo, Communications Co-Chair, Global Women’s Caucus
On January 16th, 2021, a doctor by the name of Kimberly D. Manning prepared a vaccination station for Ms. Eloise, an elderly black woman who had come to the clinic to get her vaccine. Soon after Dr. Manning started preparing the syringe, Ms. Eloise started crying, confessing her doubt that she was doing the right thing. Dr. Manning paused the inoculation, and began to talk with her, gently asking her about her hesitations. Ms. Eloise explained that she didn’t want to go another year, not being able to hug her grandkids -- “I’m more scared of going another year not hugging my grands than I am of…whatever.”
“Ms. Eloise, I bet you’ve seen a lot of…whatever,” stated Dr. Manning. Ms. Eloise replied, “Yeah, I have.”
This excerpt was retrieved from the twitter account of Dr. Kimberly D. Manning, illuminating a conflict of trust that many Black Americans are confronted with when making healthcare decisions. Dr. Manning, also a Black woman, ended the post with #BlackWhysMatter, a directive to her followers to listen to the hesitancy of those who have historically been taken advantage of by the medical and healthcare communities.
Among Black Americans, trust in vaccine safety is only 14%, and two in three people believe that the government should “rarely, or never, be trusted to look after their interests.” In Latinx communities, these statists are 34% and 43% respectively -- lower than what many health officials need for public health conformity, yet a bump up from reports by Black Americans, displaying a deep divide in opinion among two populations that have historically been marginalized. The efficacy of any vaccine to provide widespread protection lies within the population’s willingness to get it, and if certain groups are hesitant, then everyone is at risk.
What Ms. Eloise and many others are afraid of, however, is not unjustified; throughout history, Black Americans have suffered from unspeakable tortures, prejudices, and disparities in medical research and healthcare. In 1932, the Tuskegee Institute, along with the Public Health Service, began to study the natural course of syphilis by recruiting 600 Black men, half with syphilis and half without, without their informed consent. In return for the study (originally supposed to last six months), the men received free regular medical exams, free meals, and free burial services. The study went on to last for 40 years, and in 1947, when penicillin became the chosen drug to cure syphilis, the men of the Tuskegee study were not offered it, with later investigations finding no evidence that the participants were even given a choice to quit the study. This incident sparked the establishment of the International Review Board, and a strict code of ethics that is rigorously analyzed for the use of human subjects in research.
Though the research community has taken strides to assure equality in experimentation and scientific study, we are far from rectifying the persistent systemic racism embedded in the American medical system; inequalities and prejudices still exist and are evident in the high mortality rates among Black mothers and infants, and in the striking disparities in Coronavirus cases among Black Americans. And to say that the problem is being confronted flies in the face of reports showing that race is not being adequately tracked in vaccination distribution. Moreover, the process for acquiring a vaccination appointment, even by those who are eager to get it, is displaying racial inequities, in terms of the time and resources needed to book such an appointment. If we are to take on the labor of Sisyphus and tackle the predominant vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans, then we must confront the bleak reality of medical racism, and learn more about the groups that are being targeted by disinformation campaigns looking to suppress and mislead.
Unfortunately, women, particularly Black women, are one of the more vulnerable populations targeted by propaganda. Broken down only by gender, a recent National Geographic survey showed that 51% of women reported that they were likely to take the covid vaccine, compared with 69% of men. Some research shows that the anti-vaxxer movement, primarily made up of women, has infiltrated mainstream, predominantly female, domains, like wellness and cuisine. These campaigns are succeeding in spreading false information to a population that is chiefly responsible for making health decisions for their families. Furthermore, there is warranted hesitancy among Black women given the history of distressing medical outcomes during childbirth, compounded by a lack of medical research for this demographic. Though some policy leaders have considered targeting Black communities first with the vaccine, given that those communities have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, an established and reinforced distrust in healthcare and health professionals have left many Black women wary to be first in line.
Professionals and experts in the study of disinformation and inequality have a few suggestions to help everyone stay savvy to credible information and hopefully help increase willing participation in vaccination. For one, we need to listen to those who are hesitant because of a long-established system of medical racism. We also need to become informed consumers of accurate information, and use the tools available to us to call out and combat false messaging. Remember Occam’s razor? Some stories are just too convoluted to be true. Lastly, we need to get this vaccine. Though some experts theorize that hesitancy in women arises partly from research showing that women fare better than men when infected with the coronavirus, our physical health, mental health, and futures all depend on stepping up as a community and listening to science.
Ms. Eloise had a fear of being disconnected from the people she loved, and that fear ultimately helped erode the fears she harbored as a Black woman. Thank you, Ms. Eloise. Our neighbors and leaders must learn from your example, and from your #why.
By Kathryn Tullos
Congress probably will consider reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) during the current session. Authored by then-Senator Joe Biden, the bill originally passed in 1994. VAWA must be reauthorized every five years, and Congress approved that reauthorization several times during both Democratic and Republican administrations. However, in 2019, legislation to reauthorize the law died in the Senate. Opposition to the 2019 measure came from critics of measures expanding opportunities for immigrant victims of domestic violence to remain in the United States legally and protections for persons in same-sex relationships, as well as opponents of provisions limiting gun ownership by perpetrators of domestic violence or sexual assault.
VAWA is important because it changed the legal landscape in domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The original Act contained a number of measures that helped close loopholes in domestic violence cases. For example, the Act required each state to recognize protective orders issued in any other state and provided incentives for states to enact laws mandating that police make arrests when they respond to domestic violence incidents. VAWA also created an Office on Violence Against Women in the Department of Justice and enabled federal prosecutors to act in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes that had crossed state lines. The Act also has provided approximately $8 billion in grants for education and crisis assistance related to domestic violence and sexual assault. More recent iterations of VAWA have focused on outreach to marginalized persons, such as immigrants, Native Americans, and people of color and have prohibited measures that discouraged reporting of violence and assault, such as requiring rape victims to pay for their testing in hospitals and clinics.
Advocates of VAWA point to significant progress in the area of domestic violence since it became law. Roughly half of the states enacted mandatory arrest laws during that period. Too, the United States has seen substantial declines in rates of violence against intimate partners since 1994. According to the Congressional Research Service, the incidence of serious intimate partner violence against women declined 70% between 1994 and 2018; the incidence against men declined 87% in the same period. Advocates note, however, that domestic violence and sexual assault remain significant problems. Experts estimate that as many as one in three American women will experience one or both of these during her lifetime.
Congress likely will consider reauthorization and expansion of VAWA in its current session. During his campaign, President Biden marked this as a top priority. He called in particular for expansion of access to services for victims of violence who live in rural areas and for more resources to house women fleeing abuse. In addition, a number of professional groups that deal with domestic violence and sexual assault have announced support for reauthorization. In the legal field, the American Bar Association has called for reauthorization. And in the medical field, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports VAWA and has urged Congress to appropriate emergency funds to expand services to domestic violence victims trapped with their abusers during the COVID pandemic.
Andrea Host-Barth published Abortion Rights Update in Violence Against Women 2021-02-16 15:04:14 -0500
Abortion Rights Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but a little Good
by Kathryn Tullos
Laws regulating abortion have changed recently in several countries.
As of 24 January 2021, abortion is now available on demand in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. This development marks a substantial departure from previous Argentinian law, which allowed terminations in only cases of rape and danger to the woman’s life. Under the new law, abortions performed after 14 weeks will be subject to the same restrictions that were previously in place throughout the entire pregnancy.
This legislative change resulted from a combined effort by Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, and sustained grass roots pressure from the group Ni Una Menos, or Not One [Woman] Less. Ni Una Menos formed in 2015 to protest widespread violence against women. The organization has also lobbied and protested in favor of gender parity issues, marriage equality, and the rights of transgender persons.
Research indicates that thousands of illegal abortions have occurred in Argentina each year. In 2016, the last year for which data was available, roughly 40,000 of these procedures led to health complications requiring hospitalization.
On 25 January, the Thai Parliament passed legislation allowing abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The legislation now proceeds to a review by Thailand’s Constitutional Court. If the Court rules that the legislation comports with the country’s constitution, the King will sign and publish the bill, which then becomes a law.
Previously, abortion had been available in Thailand only in cases of rape or danger to the health of the woman. Cases of illegal abortion could result in the imprisonment of both providers and patients. Under the new law, women who have abortions after the prescribed 12-week period are still subject to fines, imprisonment, or both, unless the procedure is deemed necessary under Thai medical guidelines.
A near-total ban on abortions has taken effect as of 27 January in Poland. The country’s Constitutional Court ruled in October 2020 that abortion would no longer be allowed in cases of fetal abnormalities, even when those abnormalities were severe or fatal. Terminations because of fetal abnormalities make up 98% of the annual legal abortions in Poland. Facing the largest country’s largest protests since the fall of Communism, the socially-conservative government had delayed publishing the law, which puts the law into effect, until late in January.
Polish law still allows pregnancies to be terminated in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the woman’s life. However, such terminations are uncommon, and experts estimate that approximately 200,000 Polish women receive abortions illegally in country or abroad.
The Ugly and Some Good
United States of America
The United States has seen conflicting recent developments in the laws and judicial decisions governing abortion.
In a move restricting access to abortions, the Supreme Court ruled that a federal judge erred in overruling a Food and Drug Administration rule requiring women to pick up pills to end pregnancy in person. The lower court had ruled that, in light of the health risks and reduced access to hospitals and medical offices caused by the COVID pandemic, making a woman pick up pills in person placed an undue burden on her right to an abortion.
The 6-3 decision in Food and Drug Administration v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, came down on 12 January 2021. Justices Sotomeyor and Kagan dissented, and Justice Breyer voted against the majority without stating his reasons for doing so.
In contrast, on 28 January, President Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy, commonly known as the Global Gag Rule. This measure had barred US funding to international medical groups that used non-US money to fund providing abortion information or services. Biden’s decision frees up approximately $7.3 billion in funding for health groups around the world.
President Biden also announced that he would restore $69 million in funding for the United Nations Population Fund. The Fund’s Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, estimated that the additional funding could prevent 1.4 million unintended pregnancies and 32,000 unsafe abortions. She also stated that the funds would be used to provide reproductive health services to 4.2 million people and counseling to over 75,000 victims of sexual violence.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Please help us fight for our reproductive freedom! All you need to do is join the Reproductive Justice Action Team. We had our first planning call on February 8, 2021 and will post the minutes.
If you are interested in working with us, please contact Salli Anne Swartz [email protected]