Women on Waves Sparks Renewed Debate on Abortion in Portugal
As reported earlier this week, Women on Waves set sail on Monday for to bring attention to the nation's restrictive abortion policies. The deputy for Portugal’s Green Party, Isabel Castro, asserted that the ship will show “what cannot be forgotten, a law that is humiliating for women.” In response to the ships departure, Jose Areia de Carvalho, the head of Portugal’s Federation for Life stated that “it would be better for them not to come” because he sees the ship “encouraging the practice of acts that are criminal under Portuguese law,” reports Agence France-Presse.
As the debate between Portuguese officials continues, Women and Waves will carry out their mission off-shore in international waters, legally providing information on abortion, AIDS, and birth control to people during their two week stay in Portugal. In addition, Women on Waves will hand out abortion pills to women who are less than six and half weeks pregnant and have made the decision to terminate their pregnancies, reports Reuters.
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, founder of the Women on Waves foundation, is hoping that the ship’s trip to Portugal will help break “the terrible taboo” of abortion in the country, according to Agence France-Presse. 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.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .