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.
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .