Portuguese Women Acquitted of Illegal Abortion Charges
Two Portuguese women were acquitted Monday of illegally terminating their pregnancies, in a case that dates back to 1999. The exoneration resulted from the prosecutionís lack of evidence against the women, following the judgeís dismissal of police wiretap evidence, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).
The two women were arrested and charged after paying a nurse $480 each to perform the abortions in her residence, according to the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report. The nurse is being tried separately, and could face up to eight years in prison.
Abortion is illegal in Portugal, with few exceptions, including endangerment of the motherís life and other specified conditions. Portuguese abortion laws are among the most prohibitive in Europe. Between 20,000 to 40,000 clandestine abortions are performed annually in Portugal, and over 1,000 women were hospitalized in 2003 as a result of complications from back-alley abortions.
A poll conducted late last year by the daily newspaper Diario de Noticias and TSF radio showed that three in five people in Portugal believe that the government should decriminalize abortion.
Media Resources: Agence France Presse 7/11/05; Kaiser Reproductive Health Report 7/13/05; Feminist Daily News Wire 10/4/04
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. . . .