Seventeen Portugese women accused of having illegal abortions and twenty-six others accused of aiding the illegal abortions have gone to trial and are now facing jail sentences of up to three years. Pro-choice supporters in Portugal, a country heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, have criticized the proceedings claiming that the law encouraged the women to seek out illegal avenues to obtaining abortion services. Under Portugese law, abortion is legal only in the first trimester and only in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or to save the life of the woman. Abortions can only be performed in government-approved clinics. These restrictions on abortion access, according to healthcare workers, make botched abortion the leading cause of maternal mortality in Portugal. In 1998, abortion-rights activists estimated that hospitals in Portugal saw roughly 10,000 women a year suffering from complications from illegal abortions.
Media Resources: The Independent, 10/20/01; Center for Reproductive Law and Policy
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .