The Supreme Court of El Salvador has still not issued a decision about whether or not it will allow a woman in El Salvador to terminate a life-threatening, non-viable fetus.
"Beatriz", who is currently 22 and already a mother of a young infant, was diagnosed with multiple severe illnesses and is 18 weeks pregnant. In addition, the fetus will not survive more than a few days outside the womb (if at all) due to a severe fetal abnormality where part of the brain does not develop. Doctors fear that if she continues with the pregnancy, Beatriz could lose her life. Abortion in any circumstance is illegal in El Salvador and if Beatriz and her doctors proceed with the abortion without approval from the Supreme Court they could face up to 30 years in jail for aggravated homicide. While the Supreme Court has agreed to hear her case, the Court has not released anything related to the case in the month since the hospital sought permission to treat Beatriz.
Over 45,000 people from around the world have signed a petition urging Salvadorian President Mauricio Funes to authorize the procedure. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights have also pressured the government to intervene. The UN experts on the right to health; torture; and violence against women issued a joint statement saying, "We urge the Government of El Salvador to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and full enjoyment of the right to life, and to the highest attainable standard of health for Beatriz, in accordance with international human rights law."
Since a total ban on abortion was passed in 1998, 628 women have been imprisoned for their abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Of those, 24 were charged with "aggravated murder," which can mean a penalty of up to 30 years in jail.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 5/3/2013; Christian Science Monitor 5/2/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/25/2013
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. . . .