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Photo: Christina Victoria Craft

Doctors on four continents, supported by US Christian right activists, are providing women with “dangerous” and unproven treatments that claim to ‘reverse’ medical abortions. This was proven in late March by reporters from OpenDemocracy.

How did they research such a personal and delicate matter? And how big is this problem in Europe? Find out in the second Dataharvest Pop-Up, taking place on April 21 at 2 pm CET.

Register here!

Undercover reporters contacted a hotline run by US Christian right activists and were connected to local doctors in their own countries who were willing to prescribe so-called ‘abortion pill reversal’ by phone or email.

‘Abortion pill reversal’ (APR) involves taking high doses of progesterone, a hormone, following the first of two pills used for a medical abortion. Health experts say it is unlikely to ‘reverse’ a medical abortion, and there are also concerns about using progesterone (in itself not dangerous) for this ‘treatment’. A US medical trial into APR was halted in 2019 after some participants were sent to hospital with severe haemorrhaging. The trial’s lead researcher said it was stopped because “It wasn’t safe for me to expose women to this treatment.” 

However, the US hotline connected reporters to local doctors who were willing to provide prescriptions in 12 countries, in Europe and beyond. Only in two countries  were local contacts unwilling to help women take this ‘treatment’, calling it unproven and possibly unsafe.

Join us for a session with Claire Provost, Tatev Hovhannisyan and Zeynep Sentek to learn how they followed the lead from the US hotline to specific countries and doctors around the world. They will share tips on how to go undercover while reporting (including how to prepare a good cover story), and how to combine this method with a data-driven investigation approach.

In the past, openDemocracy revealed Heartbeat’s links to anti-abortion projects around the world that use misinformation in their efforts to discourage women from ending pregnancies under any circumstances and established that groups linked to US Christian right groups have poured millions of dollars into activities of conservative groups globally, for example groups fighting LGBTQ rights.

Register here!

Where did the idea for a great cross-border investigation come from? How did the reporters accomplish their results? Which challenges did they meet on the way? In sessions under the label “The making of…”, Dataharvest will over the coming months invite you to meet the reporters behind a story and hear them present a cross-section of the work from idea to publication.

These sessions will hopefully inspire you for your own work – and give you a chance to follow the developments of investigations across Europe, even if we are all tied down by our keyboards for a few more months.

The first session is next week! On Wednesday March 22, Maxime Vaudano, Jérémie Baruch and Maxime Ferrer from Le Monde will share how they got and analysed the data for OpenLux, an investigation conducted by Le Monde along with ten media partners about the tax haven in the heart of Europe: Luxembourg.

Following “The making of…” sessions will be on April 14 at 2 pm, May 5 at 10 am, June 16 at 2 pm, September 22 at 10 am, October 13 at 2 pm, November 24 at 10 am, and December 9 at 2 pm.

The sessions will be free of charge, and you register for them here.

Do you know of a great investigation that should be highlighted in a session? Please get in touch with us!

Maxime Vaudano

Jérémie Baruch

Our series of Dataharvest Pop-Ups opens with the OpenLux investigation that put pressure on Luxembourg, a tax haven in the heart of Europe.

The tiny state of Luxembourg is the world’s second-biggest destination for foreign capital, thanks to the opacity of its financial systems. In 2018, the country created a database that would reveal the ultimate beneficial owners of all the companies registered therein. However, the database is not searchable by the owners’ names, which made it much harder to determine beneficial owners. 

But a team from the French newspaper Le Monde managed to scrape the registry’s website and obtain 3.3 million documents, covering hundreds of thousands of companies based in Luxembourg. With a help of their international media partners, Le Monde’s team dug deeper into the people who are benefiting from the companies and explored weaknesses in anti-money laundering frameworks in Luxembourg and the EU.

Maxime Vaudano, Jérémie Baruch and Maxime Ferrer from Le Monde will share with us the making of Open Lux, explain to us how they’ve managed to analyse the documents and identify people of interest in the datasets and cross-check them.

Join us for the first Dataharvest Pop-Up session on March 24, 10.00 CET. Register here.

Register for the main program of Dataharvest 2021 here: https://dataharvest.eu/register/