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
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
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. . . .