A Spanish parliamentary committee approved a report on reform of Spain's restrictive abortion laws last week that recommends the legalization of first trimester abortions. Currently, abortion is legal in Spain only in cases of rape, severe fetal abnormalities, or when the mother's mental or physical health is at risk, according to Agence France Presse.
The report comes from an expert panel of doctors, lawyers, academics, and government representatives appointed by the Spanish government in September 2008. The panel's role is to recommend how to best amend Spain's current abortion law, which dates to 1985, to bring Spanish law more in line with other European countries.
The panel's recommendations will influence the content of a draft bill that will be introduced in the legislature this year. According to the Telegraph, reform of abortion laws is part of the social change program undertaken by Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose Socialist government has removed religion from the public education curriculum, reformed divorce laws, and legalized gay marriage since assuming to power in 2004.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 9/9/08; Agence France Presse 2/19/09; Telegraph 2/20/09
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. . . .