The Mexican High Court ruled last Wednesday that women in Mexico City may obtain abortions to preserve their health or in cases of rape. While a very limited victory, abortion rights supporters were encouraged by the Court’s decision, which would make these exceptions constitutional in all 32 Mexican states. Of the ruling, Pedro Marales, counsel for Mexican pro-choice group Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida (GIRE), commented, “It emphasized that, in specific cases, these rights – that is, liberty, reproductive autonomy, dignity, women’s health – can prevail over the interests of the product of the conception.”
Jesus Zamora Pierce, President of the Mexican Academy of Penal Science, indicated that the ruling may facilitate changes to abortion laws in other Mexican states. It may also increase the availability of abortion services at government-run hospitals, which mainly service the poor. Many poor women are unable to obtain abortions because government-funded hospitals did not offer such services, and these women could not pay for the procedure at private clinics, where many wealthier women obtained abortions.
GIRE estimates that approximately one million Mexican women obtain abortions each year, despite the fact the abortion is illegal in most cases. They also estimate that about 1500 women die from complications related to clandestine abortions.
Media Resources: Women’s Enews 2/7/02; Reuters 9/2001
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. . . .