After a four-month-long investigation, Women on Waves has been cleared of charges of breaking strict abortions laws by of performing illegal abortions in Poland and by introducing the abortion pill mifepristone (RU 486) into the country. According to Women on Waves, the prosecutor's office dismissed the accusations due to a lack of evidence that the Dutch foundation had broke any Polish laws.
According to Women on Waves, the ship affected public opinion in Poland regarding abortion rights. A poll conducted by the Centrum Banania Opinii Spolecznej (the official Polish polling company) showed that 61 percent of Polish people want abortion laws to be liberalized, which was only 44 percent before the ship's visit to Poland.
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 on Waves is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands whose mission is to prevent unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortions throughout the world. The Dutch organization provides abortion and reproductive health services to women on a specially equipped ship. Dr. Rebecca Gomperts commissioned the construction of a mobile clinics suitable for placement on a ship that sails to countries where abortion is illegal. By sailing out to international waters, she is able to provide essential reproductive services to women, including non-surgical abortions, contraception, and counseling.
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. . . .