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.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .