New Delhi Supreme Court Rules on Rape Victim's Pregnancy
New Delhi's Supreme Court overturned a lower court's decision yesterday, ruling against terminating the pregnancy of a nineteen-year-old mentally handicapped rape victim. This ruling was made immediately before the pregnancy reached 20 weeks, the latest that abortion is legal in India. Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan stated, "we know that she will not be able to rear the child [but] someone else can take care of the child." He also said that "Nature will take care on its own," reported the The Telegraph.
The lower court ordered an abortion in the case last week due to the medical and psychological risks the pregnancy would incur on the victim. In the lower court's ruling, the judge wrote, "We have no hesitation in observing that she is extremely vulnerable to all types of deceptive, dishonest and immoral offers even at the hands of those whom the law bestowed with the duty of looking after her," reported the Times of India.
The victim, whose cognitive functioning is similar to that of a nine-year-old, was allegedly raped by an attendant at a government-run home, Nari Niketan, where she was living.
The case has sparked strong public debate between anti- and pro-choice activists since the woman's pregnancy was discovered in May. Anupam Gupta, who represented the facility where the woman was allegedly raped, argued in court that "Her keenness to keep the child is not a reflection of her consent but that of a child who needs a toy...She can only physically deliver a child and that's all," reported the The Telegraph.
Media Resources: The Telegraph 7/21/09; The Times of India 7/18/09
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. . . .