Ireland's High Court to Hear Case Over Teen's Right to Abortion
A 17-year-old Irish girl petitioned Ireland's High Court yesterday for the right to travel to England to obtain an abortion, which remains illegal in Ireland even in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal anomalies. The girl, known in the media as "Miss D," has been in the custody of Ireland's Health Services Executive (HSE) since February after being removed from her mother's care due to incidents of abuse. Four months pregnant, Miss D -- who had planned to carry her pregnancy to term -- discovered in April that the fetus is afflicted with a rare brain defect and has no chance of survival, but the HSE won't allow her to leave the country to seek an abortion. The fetus' condition, called anencephaly, prevents sections of the brain and skull from forming and is always fatal; babies born with anencephaly are generally blind, deaf, and unconscious, and can only survive a maximum of three days outside the womb. funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
Since 2002, three minors in state custody have been permitted to leave Ireland for abortions after demonstrating that the pregnancy threatened their life or rendered them suicidal. Miss D has told the court that although she is not suicidal, it would be "inhumane" to be forced to continue with the pregnancy DPE, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports. She claims the HSE's mandate has deprived her of a right to her personal autonomy. According to the Attorney General, the HSE does not have the authority to restrict Miss D's travel. The Attorney General has, however, moved to have the "unborn child" represented in the hearing, the Belfast Telegraph reports.
According to the Irish Examiner, Miss D's Senior Counsel Eoghan Fitzsimons told the court, "She's being denied rights guaranteed to every citizen because she is under 18 and subject to a care order. It is discrimination of the highest order."
Miss D's case has reignited the abortion debate in the predominately Catholic country, which has some of the strictest abortion regulations in Europe.
Media Resources: Belfast Telegraph 5/3/07, 5/1/07; Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/3/07; The Guardian (UK) 5/1/07; Irish Examiner 5/3/07
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .