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Opinion Piece Calls For Decriminalization Of Abortion, Evolution Of Laws As Medical Technology Develops

Rewire: Self-managed Abortion Highlights Need to Decriminalize Abortion Worldwide
Patty Skuster, senior legal adviser for technical innovation and evidence at Ipas; Kinga Jelinska, co-founder and executive director of Women Help Women; and Susan Yanow, co-founder of Women Help Women

“…Laws change slowly, and abortion laws are no exception. … Abortion pills provide a perfect example of a technology that has outpaced current legal restrictions — which may have been originally intended to promote health and safety, but now impede progress. … The practice of self-managing an abortion challenges the classic legal definitions of ‘provider’ and creates new possibilities for expanding access to safe abortion care. Current laws keeping health professionals as the only legal providers of care, thus criminalizing self-management, do not guarantee safe abortions but stand in the way of it. Lawmakers and health systems must recognize the realities of those engaging in user-initiated care practices and/or providing care outside of the traditional health system channels and find ways to support this practice. It is time to take abortion out of the criminal codes in every country. … It is time to decriminalize abortion” (11/12).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.