A Florida anti-abortion group is now claiming that they have persuaded a Miami judge to change his ruling in what has become a highly charged case involving a severely disabled woman who became pregnant after she was raped. The judge ruled late last week that doctors at a Florida hospital could go ahead with an abortion for a 28-year-old severely mentally retarded woman who has the cognitive skills of a 4-year-old and expressed her wishes only by telling a judge, "My baby no more." Medical officials have said that pregnancy for the woman, who is known to have extensive medical ailments, becomes increasingly life threatening as it progresses, according to the Orlando Sentinel. In addition, seizure medications taken by the woman will likely cause serious birth defects in the fetus, according to Click10.com.
Despite the woman's expressed desires and the life-threatening nature of her pregnancy, Liberty Counsel, a Florida anti-abortion group, filed a court request that the abortion be stopped. Both the Third District Court of Appeals and Circuit Court Judge Arthur Rothenberg denied the group's request. The group appealed the case to the Florida Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the case. Liberty Counsel is now claiming that Rothenberg changed his mind and has decided to "allow [Z.H.] who is six months pregnant to have surgery to deliver her baby," according to the Sentinel. The judge has yet to confirm or deny Liberty Counsel's claims.
Z.H. and an Orlando woman, who is also severely disabled and became pregnant after being raped, have both been drawn into the center of the abortion rights debate by anti-abortion extremists. In the Orlando case, which involves a 22-year-old woman who has the mental capacity of an infant, Governor Jeb Bush asked that her fetus be granted a guardian - despite the fact that the Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that a guardian could not be granted for a fetus. The ACLU, Center for Reproductive Rights and Florida NOW have filed a friend-of-the-court brief against Bush's request. A Florida judge has delayed any decision on the matter while the woman, who is almost six months pregnant, approaches the "point of pregnancy that may effectively preclude any abortion option," Boston Globe Columnist Ellen Goodman notes.
"If an unborn child carries the same legal weight as the woman, so much for abortion rights," Goodman wrote in a column about Gov. Bush and President Bush's attempts to undermine abortion rights by granting personhood to fetuses.
Media Resources: Orlando Sentinel 5/26/03, 5/28/03, 5/29/03; Click10.com 5/23/03; Boston Globe 5/25/03; Christian Science
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .