Catholic Church Revokes Decision to Punish Nine-Year-Old Rape Victim
After protest from feminists, Roman Catholic authorities in Managua, Nicaragua decided to backtrack from their decision to excommunicate a nine-year-old rape victim, her parents, and their doctors for terminating the child’s pregnancy, the Guardian reports. Spanish feminists delivered a petition with 26,000 signatures to the Vatican headquarters in Madrid last week to protest the decision of the Roman Catholic Church. The petition told the Church to excommunicate the petitioners along with the girl and her parents and doctors, as they all “contributed actively in making the interruption of the pregnancy possible,” according to the Guardian.
The girl became pregnant after being raped on the coffee plantation where she worked in Costa Rica. After much debate, she was granted an abortion by the Nicaraguan health ministry, BBC reports.
At first, the family minister of Nicaragua stated that the girl should have the baby because of Nicaragua’s strict abortion policy. Nicaraguan law dictates that abortions are only legal under certain dire situations, including when the mother’s life is in danger. However, the girl’s parents sought special permission to have the pregnancy terminated. The Catholic Church spoke against the abortion, while various children’s and women’s rights groups advocated for the girl to have the right to an abortion. Last month, Costa Rican authorities arrested the man who is accused of the rape.
Media Resources: The Guardian 3/7/03; BBC News 3/5/03; National Post 3/6/03; Feminist Daily News Wire
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. . . .