On Thursday, the Federal Council of Medicine in Brazil announced their support for legislative reform of the country's current abortion laws. The proposed legislation being debated in the Brazilian Senate would legalize abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It would also expand a current exception that allows abortion in only in the case of brain defects to include other fetal anomalies and would allow abortion in cases of insemination or in-vitro fertilization without consent.
The Council's president, Roberto Luis d'Avila, told reporters, "The reality of the facts shows that women are getting abortions with great inequality... Rich women are getting them in safe conditions and the poor, completely unsafe... with complications, losing their uteruses, losing parts of their intestines, dying. It's not possible. This inequality is unacceptable from the medical point of view." In a statement released by the Council, d'Avila said "The council is not in favor of abortion, but rather the empowerment of women and physicians. In this sense, medical organizations agree with the proposal still under consideration in the Congress."
The Brazilian National Conference of Bishops has already spoken out against the Federal Council of Medicine for its position. Despite being predominantly Catholic, approximately 1 million abortions are performed illegally in Brazil a year. About 200,000 women die each year in Brazil from unsafe abortion, which is the fifth leading cause of death for women in the country.
Media Resources: International Business Times 3/23/2013; Associated Press 3/21/2013; BBC 3/21/2013
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. . . .