Women on Waves (WOW), a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands whose mission is to prevent unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortions throughout the world, arrives today in Poland - where access to abortion is extremely restricted - to provide abortion and reproductive health services to women on a specially equipped ship. WOW's founder, Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, has constructed a floating clinic on a ship that sails to countries where abortion is illegal and, by sailing out to international waters, she is able to provide essential reproductive services to women, including non-surgical abortions, contraception, and counseling.
The Feminist Majority Foundation's Director of Law Enforcement Operations has been working with staff and community volunteers in Poland and the Netherlands for several weeks, training them to assess threats of violence and implement specialized security plans to guard against potential violence or disruptions. She is currently onsite in Poland assisting with security operations for the ship's arrival. FMF staff also assisted WOW in its June 2001 voyage to Ireland, where the group sparked international debate about restrictive abortion laws and provided reproductive healthcare services for hundreds of Irish women.
Under the current law in Poland, women are permitted to obtain abortions only when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, when the pregnancy constitutes a threat to the life of the woman, or when there is "heavy, irreversible" damage to the fetus. According to the Polish Federation of Women and Family Planning, because of these restrictions there are as many as 200,000 illegal abortions performed in Poland each year. Women who can afford to travel abroad for an abortion will pay as much as $500, the equivalent of more than one months' pay. With more than 60 percent of women in Poland living under the poverty threshold, this leaves many women with little choice other than an unsafe illegal abortion. The United Nations estimates that 80,000 women and girls worldwide die annually from complications resulting from botched, illegal abortions. Women's health and feminist organizations estimate the number to be greater than 200,000.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .