Mentally Disabled Florida Rape Survivor to Carry Pregnancy to Term
After much back and forth about the health risks of a pregnancy for a mentally disabled woman who became pregnant after she was raped while under the state's care, a Florida judge approved a decision made by the woman's court-appointed guardian to carry her pregnancy to term. Known only as JDS, the 22-year-old woman has the mental capacity of an infant and does not even know that she is pregnant. Patti Riley Jarrell, her court-appointed guardian, decided that it was in JDS' best interest to complete the pregnancy rather than have an abortion, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel.
Women's rights advocates have expressed concern over the court's decision. "JDS is a rape victim. She has the mental capacity of a toddler," Carla Josephson, president of the Orlando National Organization for Women told the Sentinel. "So I question how it can be in the best interest of a toddler to go through a pregnancy and delivery. None of this is improving her life." After JDS gives birth, expected within two months, the Florida Department of Children & Families will take custody of the newborn. The child will then most likely be placed in a foster home and put up for adoption.
In the meantime, Governor Jeb Bush is continuing efforts to appoint a guardian for the fetus that JDS is carrying. Although a Florida judge has already said that there is no legal basis for such a request - a ruling affirmed by a similar Florida Supreme Court decision in 1989 - Bush continues with what is a loosely veiled attempt to undermine abortion rights by granting legal personhood to a fetus.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Florida National Organization for Women have filed a 23-page brief with the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Florida opposing Bush's request.
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. . . .