Brazilian Court Rules Against Aborting Fetuses Without Brains
Brazil's highest court has ruled against allowing abortions in cases where the fetus has developed without a brain. This disorder, which is always fatal, is called anencephaly and occurs approximately 650 times a year in Brazil. The ruling by Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal was prompted by a request from the National Confederation of Healthcare Workers that the court clarify whether abortion was legal in cases of anencephaly, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The decision throws out an earlier judge’s ruling, but does not settle the broader issue of whether abortion in cases of anencephaly is legal under Brazilian law Philadelphia Inquirer. The full high court is expected to rule on the issue shortly.
Currently Brazil only allows abortion in the cases of rape and severe danger to the women’s life. Several judges have allowed abortion in the case of anencephaly because they feel the disorder presents a risk to women’s health. While President Luiz Inacio da Silva’s Health Ministry favors limited abortion on demand, the government’s top attorney argues for the court to prohibit abortion.
The ruling disproportionately affects the health of poor women. While hundreds of thousands of women can afford to pay for abortions at private clinics, poor women must go through the public health system or turn to back alley abortions and homemade remedies, according to Knight Ridder News Service. In an amicus brief, the Brazilian Human Rights, Gender and Bioethics Institute argued that the ban on abortion for fetuses with anencephaly results in “physical and psychological torture” and “denies women their constitutional right to access health care,” according to Kaisernetwork.org.
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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. . . .