Petition Filed Against Peru with UN CEDAW Committee
A 16-year-old Peruvian rape survivor filed a petition with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) against Peru yesterday. While abortion is legal in Peru in case of risk to a woman's health or life, the petition alleges that the failure of the Peruvian government to adequately enforce existing laws led to the anonymous survivor's paralysis.
At age 13, the young woman was raped by a 34-year-old man and became pregnant. After discovering the pregnancy, she attempted suicide by jumping off a building. Doctors treated her injuries, but refused to perform necessary spinal surgery when they realized she was pregnant. Ultimately, the young woman had a miscarriage as a result of her injuries, but remained paralyzed after undergoing surgery.
A similar case was filed against Peru by the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2002. In that case, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled in favor of a young woman who was forced to carry to term a fetus with fatal abnormalities. The Committee ruled that access to abortion in the case of threats to maternal health is a human right and Peru was ordered to change their abortion laws.
Peru signed CEDAW on July 23, 1981. CEDAW is the most comprehensive international agreement that seeks women's advancement. It establishes rights for women in areas not previously subject to international standards. Moreover, the Convention establishes a committee to periodically review the progress being made by its adherents. The US is the only industrialized western country that has not ratified CEDAW, which has been ratified by 185 countries.
Media Resources: Center for Reproductive Rights 6/18/09; Feminist Daily News Wire 2/25/04, 4/14/09; United Nations CEDAW
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. . . .