News

We are pleased to announce the open-access publication “Inter-departmental abortion travels in metropolitan France: A mixed-methods analysis of women’s experiences, access, and barriers to abortion care”, in which the BAR2LEGAB Team assessed the role of in-country abortion mobility in France. France has made significant progress to facilitate access to abortions over the past decades. Nevertheless, barriers persist for why women do not find services in their department of residence (lack of services or access to preferred methods, quality of care, long waiting times). The paper highlights, first, that in-country mobility is a national phenomenon in metropolitan France, where 18% of French women seek abortion care outside their department of residence. And second, most mobility takes place within Ile-de-France region, where women frequently commute to Paris for timely access to quality care.

 

Rahm L, De Zordo S, Mishtal J, Garnsey C, Gerdts C. 2022. Inter-departmental abortion travels in metropolitan France: A mixed-methods analysis of women’s experiences, access, and barriers to abortion care. PLOS ONE 17(10): e0273190. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0273190

On October 28th from 3p.m to 6:30p.m. Drs. Silvia de Zordo, Joanna Mishtal and Giulia Zanini, respectively principal investigator, senior researcher and post-doctoral researcher on the BAR2LEGAB research project will present the study’s results on cross-border travel for abortion care in Europe at a panel entitled “Barriers to access to pregnancy termination and self-managed abortion: health, reproductive rights and demedicalization in question”, within the framework of the 1st AFIN International virtual Congress on Women’s Reproductive Health “Women: between (in)visible Ill-being and (im)possible Well-being”.

The panel, held in English and Spanish (with simultaneous translation and subtitling), will begin with the key-note speech “Global Reproductive Governance Post-Dobbs” by Professor Lynn Morgan”.

More information on the panel.

Registration.

On September 29th at 3pm ET (9PM CET) Silvia De Zordo and Joanna Mishtal, Principal Investigator and Senior Researcher on the BAR2LEGAB project, will discuss with other anthropologists who have contributed to The Routledge Handbook on Reproduction and Anthropology on how changes in US law and policy are affecting the local communities where they have done research and the global landscape of reproduction. Drawing from their research, they will also discuss sources of insight and inspiration in the continuing struggle for reproductive justice.
More information and registrations (free)

The US Supreme Court has overturned the historical Roe vs Wade decision, which made abortion legal 50 years ago, exposing women and pregnant people who need an abortion to the consequences of legal restrictions to abortion care, which include illegal abortions, which can sometimes be unsafe, and travel to seek abortion care, with all the burdens and difficulties that it entails, as shown by our current research project in Europe.

https://reproductiverights.org/statement-supreme-court-decision-overturning-roe-v-wade/

The ERC-funded Europe Abortion Access BAR2LEGAB project is hosting its final two-days Conference “Women travelling to seek abortion care in Europe: the impact of barriers to legal abortion on women living in countries with ostensibly liberal abortion laws” on  June 22nd-23rd , 2022 at University of Barcelona (UB).

Research findings will be shared and discussed with abortion providers, advocates for reproductive rights, stakeholders, policy-makers from different countries in Europe as well as with representatives of international organisations such as the WHO, IPPF, CRR, and Women Help Women.

The Conference will be hybrid – in person and remote (a zoom link will be provided to all registered participants).

Simultaneous translation will be provided in English-Catalan- Spanish-French-Italian via zoom (it is necessary to have a smartphone or laptop with earphones).

Read the Programme here: BAR2LEGAB Final Dissemination Conference.

Register here.

The Catalan Association of Sexual and Reproductive Rights has organized a workshop aimed at discussing with health professionals working in health services different aspects of abortion provision in Catalunya on June 21st, one day before the beginning of the BAR2LEGAB Conference.

Programme and registration here: https://lassociacio.org/jornadesavortament/

The French abortion law has recently been modified to strenghten abortion rights, by removing barriers to accessing abortion care, such as gestational age limits, which lead pregnant people to travel cross-borders to seek abortion care, as our study shows.

The new law extends gestational age limits for abortion on request (voluntary termination of pregnancy – IVG), from 12 to 14 weeks (since conception); allows midwives to provide surgical abortion in hospitals; creates a directory of abortion providers.

See:

https://www.vie-publique.fr/loi/276586-loi-visant-renforcer-le-droit-lavortement-delai-porte-14-semaines

https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000045287560

EPF-IPPF EN have launched a joint “European Abortion Policies Atlas”, which scores 52 European countries and territories on legal frameworks to access safe abortion care. The Atlas clearly shows that Europe is not as progressive as it might seem, as our study on barriers to legal abortion and abortion travel in Europe confirms.

This first in-depth analysis of abortion policies across Europe finds that legislation on abortion care throughout the region is a diverse legislative and administrative patchwork – the consequence being that women’s experience of abortion care largely depends upon their postcode.

Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) released new, comprehensive guidelines on abortion care that bring together recommendations on clinical practice, health service delivery, and legal and policy interventions to support quality abortion care. The new abortion guidelines reflect the state of the evidence and recommend self-managed abortion as one of a range of safe, effective options. They also recognize non-clinical community providers as recommended providers of medication abortion care.

Finally, they recommend against laws and other regulations that prohibit abortion based on gestational age limits, which lead thousands of pregnant people to seek abortion cross-border in Europe, threatening their reproductive rights and deepening existing social and gender inequalities, as our study shows.

The reviewed evidence demonstrated that gestational age limits delayed access to abortion, especially among women seeking abortions at later gestational ages, women close to the gestational age limit and those living in areas with limited access to clinics. Gestational age limits have been found to be associated with increased rates of maternal mortality and poor health outcomes.

The studies also showed that where women requested an abortion and were denied care due to gestational age this could result in the unwanted continuation of pregnancy, especially among women with cognitive impairments or those who presented at 20 weeks’ gestation or later.

This outcome can be viewed as incompatible with the requirement in international human rights law to make abortion available when carrying a pregnancy to term would cause the woman substantial pain or suffering, regardless of pregnancy viability (see chapter 2.2.3 in the guidelines for more details).

A Third Party Intervention at the European Court of Human Right, prepared by Birmingham Law School academics, shows that the criminalization of abortion in Poland is incompatible with international human rights law.  

Silvia De Zordo and Joanna Mishtal, respectively PI and a Senior Researcher on the BAR2LEGAB research project on barriers to legal abortion and abortion travel in Europe, supported this intervention: 

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/law/news/2021/12/european-court-of-human-rights.aspx

 

Since the Polish Constitutional Court decided that the provision of abortion in case of foetal malformation was unconstitutional, thousands of Polish pregnant people have been forced to seek the support of national and international organizations to obtain abortion care via telemedicine or in clinics abroad. Over the past 12 months Abortion Without Borders groups have helped 34,000 people from Poland to access abortion, and 1080 of them obtained an abortion in a foreign clinic in the second trimester:  

https://www.asn.org.uk/abortion-without-borders-helps-more-than-34000-people-in-poland-access-abortions/ 

As our study shows, women and pregnant people travel cross-country to seek abortion care also from countries where abortion is legal on broad grounds in the first trimester. Traveling abroad implies serious challenges and burdens for them, deepening existing social and gender inequalities, and the support of national and international organizations supporting abortion rights is crucial. 

See our publications in the “Studies and Findings- Our Findings” section.  

Europe Abortion Access Project Euroe Research Council Universitad de Barcelona

This project has received funding from the European Reseach Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme BAR2LEGAB-680004