Seventeen people, including seven women who were accused of undergoing illegal abortions in Portugal, were acquitted yesterday of breaking Portugal's strict abortion laws. According to BBC News, the seven women were accused of voluntarily having abortions at a street clinic in Averio, Portugal. A three-judge panel found no proof that the accused women had undergone the abortions. If the women were found guilty they could have been sentenced to up to three years in jail.
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. Earlier this year, Portuguese abortion rights activists collected over 120,000 signatures to force Parliament to consider a decriminalization referendum that would make abortion legal during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. However, the Prime Minister of Portugal stated that he would only consider holding a referendum if he were elected to a second five-year term, reports Reuters.
According to Reuters, a recent poll conducted by Diario de Noticias/TSF stated that sixty-five percent of Portuguese are in favor of decriminalizing abortion. 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.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .