EU Accession Treaty: Catholics Call for Protection of Poland’s Abortion Policies
The Roman Catholic Church in Poland is demanding that the treaty allowing its accession to the European Union (EU) contain language stipulating Poland’s freedom to set its own abortion policy. According to The Associated Press, Poland sent a declaration to Brussels saying that, “no EU treaties or annexes to those treaties would hamper the Polish government in regulating moral issues or those concerning the protection of human life.” Conservative Poles are taking precautions, in light of an EU resolution calling all new member states and east European states to legalize abortion. Conservatives have also expressed outrage at EU proposals seeking to provide abortion services in developing countries through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Along with Ireland, Poland has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe, according to Agence France Presse. Current legislation permits abortion only when the woman’s health or life is in danger, the fetus deformed, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, the Polish minister dealing with gender equality, stated at a conference that “the shameful law has only negative consequences,” according to AFP. Approximately 80,000-200,000 illegal abortions—many performed under dangerous conditions—occur every year in Poland. People who perform these back-alley abortions are sentenced to two to three years in prison if convicted, reported AFP.
Last month, Polish women’s groups demanded a loosening of the country’s 1993 anti-abortion law, marking the 10th anniversary of the legislation. Ninety percent of Poles describe themselves as Roman Catholics. The Associated Press reports that recent surveys suggest the majority of Poles favor relaxing and liberalizing the law.
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. . . .