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.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .