Portugal: Advocates Campaign for Abortion Decriminalization Referendum
Portuguese abortion rights activists have collected over 100,000 signatures to force Parliament to consider a decriminalization referendum that would make abortion legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. According to Kaiser, a recent poll stated that nearly 75 percent of people favor a referendum on abortion law and more than 67 percent would vote to relax the current restrictive abortion laws.
Meanwhile, Portuguese attorneys made their final arguments in the trial against seven women accused of having illegal abortions, an alleged abortion provider, and several others who are accused of being accomplices. According to Agence France Presse, a verdict is expected on February 17. The high-profile trial of these women has led to calls to change Portugal's highly restrictive laws, which are heavily influenced by the Catholic Church.
Portugal and Ireland are the two countries in the European Union with the most restrictive abortion policies. Abortion is illegal in both except in cases involving rape or when there are serious health concerns.
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. . . .