Iran's Parliament Votes to Liberalize Abortion Laws
In an attempt to end the high numbers of maternal deaths due to backstreet abortions in Iran, Iran's parliament voted to liberalize its restrictive abortion laws to allow pregnancies to be terminated in the first four months if the fetus is mentally or physically handicapped. Under the new bill, both parents must still give their consent for the abortion. Women will also need confirmation from three doctors that the fetus is damaged before an abortion can be performed, reports BBC News.
Currently, Iranian women can terminate a pregnancy legally only if their life is in danger. The mother and the person who performs an illegal abortion can face between three to ten years in jail, reports Agence France Presse.
Local Iranian media reports that at least 80,000 illegal and unsafe abortions are performed annually in Iran. Many believe that that number is much higher due to the high numbers of unreported abortions that take place every year.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .