Susan Yanow, MSW - A long-time reproductive rights activist, Ms. Yanow was the founding Executive Director of the Abortion Access Project. Ms. Yanow is currently a consultant to a number of reproductive rights and health organizations that work to advance access to abortion, including ANSIRH (Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health) at UCSF, Ibis Reproductive Health, the International Consortium on Medical Abortion (ICMA), the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP), and Women on Web. She has also consulted to the Byllye Avery Institute for Social Change, Gynuity, Planned Parenthood New York City, and SisterSong. Ms. Yanow serves on the Boards of the ACLU of Massachusetts, NARAL ProChoice Massachusetts and the Cambridge Commission on the Status of Women.
Recent press about the death of Savita Halappanavar, admitted to a hospital in Ireland with medical complications in a 17 week pregnancy, is a grim reminder about the impact of abortion restrictions on women’s lives.
While access to abortion is increasingly restricted in many states, options for women needing an abortion after 20 weeks have narrowed dramatically. The restrictions on later abortion are part of a broad attack on women’s fundamental right to abortion.
The landscape for abortion access is shifting quickly, as state after state passes restrictive laws. Particularly affected by these new laws are women who need abortions later in their pregnancies.
Last week, a 20-year-old woman in New York City was arrested on charges of “self-induced abortion” and faces first-degree misdemeanor charges. Initial news reports indicate that she intentionally caused the miscarriage/abortion of her 24-week fetus. The woman disposed of the fetus in what was probably the only way she could think of: wrapped in plastic bags and placed in the trash receptacle of her apartment building.