Family Planning Orgs. Question Vatican's U.N. Status
Family planning organizations argue that the Vatican's recent proclamation condemning the distribution of emergency contraception to Kosovan rape victims was reprehensible and demand a review of the Vatican's status at the U.N.
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and other family planning organizations caring for Kosovan refugee women who have been raped by Serbian troops called the Vatican "indifferent to human suffering." Vatican officials claimed that Kosovan rape victims were not in a position to consent to taking emergency contraceptive pills and instead advocated counselling and other medical care.
IPPF Director-General Ingar Brueggemann explained, "There is a movement to ask for the Vatican's position as a state within the U.N. to be reviewed. No one would deny that it should have a status as many of the other religious organizations have within the U.N. but as a non-governmental organization." Currently, the Vatican has "observer status" within the U.N., which basically means that Vatican officials can attend U.N. meetings but cannot vote.
The Vatican has consistently opposed the allocation of funds for family planning, given its opposition to birth control and abortion.
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. . . .