Uruguayan Law Potentially Expands Adoption to Gay Couples
The legal community in Uruguay is now questioning whether a law passed in the nation's congress last week would make Uruguay, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, the first country in Latin America to legalize gay adoption. After the law was approved, the New York Times reported that the legislation would allow gay couples to adopt individually, but not as a couple. However, doubt arose within gay rights groups after a closer examination of the text that the law would not extend adoption rights to gay and lesbian individuals or couples.
President Tabaré Vázquez, who supported the legislation, initially faced criticism from the Catholic Church. According Agence France Presse, the Archbishop of Montevido, Nicolas Cotugno condemned the legislation before its final approval, stating, "It's not about religion, philosophy or sociology. It's something which is mainly about the respect of human nature itself."
Deputy Margarita Percovich, chief author of the legislation, recognized that the law does not specifically mention adoption rights for gay and lesbian individuals, but told the Associated Press that the legislation would apply because "the law enables couples in civil unions to adopt children without impediment." However, the Associated Press also reported that Attorney Juan A. Ramirez told the newspaper El Pais that "any objective interpretation of the law would conclude that either they forgot to mention that gay couples can adopt, or they didn't want to mention it. They didn't want to take the bull by the horns and resolve it clearly - they left it undefined."
Media Resources: New York Times 9/9/09; Agence France Presse 9/9/09; Associated Press 9/10/09, 9/15/09
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. . . .