Poland: Parliament and President Disagree on Abortion Ban
Poland's parliament introduced a constitutional amendment last week that would ban all abortions in the country, but both the President and Prime Minister have expressed their disapproval of the ban. Right-wing, Catholic members of parliament, known as the League of Polish Families (LPF), introduced the law, which is similar to Nicaragua’s recent abortion ban, that would further limit Poland’s strict abortion laws, which only allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to a woman’s health. Supporters of the ban want to include the right to life "from the moment of conception" in the constitution, according to AFP. Marek Kotlinowski, deputy director of LPF said about cases of rape, "A child should not be punished for the crimes of his father... It's a tragedy for the women, but the fate of the child interests me more," Reuters reports.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his brother Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski have both announced their intent to reject the proposed amendment. "I am for keeping the status quo," President Kaczynski said, according to Reuters. "The compromise reached on abortion 13 years ago is good." The bill is currently in committee and a vote in the lower house is expected in the next few months, but without the support of the president and the prime minister, the bill is likely to fail, Reuters reports.
Many feminist organizations in Poland argue that a complete ban will only lead to more back-alley abortions, a practice which is not uncommon in Poland. "Nobody will force a woman to have children if she does not want [them]. It is total hypocrisy to put a complete ban on abortions when everyone knows the black market exists," said Wanda Nowicka, president of the country's family planning federation, reports AFP.
Media Resources: AFP 10/26/06; Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy 10/31/06; Reuters 10/28/06
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. . . .