Women on Waves will set sail for Portugal this afternoon to bring attention to the nation's restrictive abortion policies. According to Women on Waves, between 20,000– 40,000 illegal and unsafe abortions take place in Portugal each year. A Portuguese woman can only receive an abortion up to her 12th week of pregnancy in cases of rape, malformed fetus, or if the woman’s health is in serious danger.
Portugal is the only country in the European Union that actively prosecutes women and their doctors for illegal abortion, reports Women on Waves. Women who are found guilty of undergoing an abortion face up to three years in prison, and a person found guilty of performing the operation faces up to eight years. In July, three Portuguese women stood trial for allegedly undergoing illegal abortions. Earlier this year, 17 people, including seven women, were accused of undergoing illegal abortions and were later acquitted of breaking Portugal's strict abortion laws.
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 clinic 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 legally, including non-surgical abortions, contraception, and counseling. Women on Waves sailed to Ireland in 2001 and Poland in 2003.
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. . . .