DECEMBER 28TH 2007- SPAIN
Zapatero rules out Spanish abortion law reform
JANUARY 1ST – EGYPT
Row over abortion right for rape victims in Egypt
JANUARY 2ND- FILM ABOUT ROMANIA
Abortion takes center stage in new film
JANUARY 2ND Czech Republic
European Christians hold anti-abortion rally in Prague
By ČTK / Published 2 January 2008
January 2nd- ITALY
ABORTION LAW - TURCO: YES TO PUBLIC DEBATE BUT NO CHANGE TO 194
Italian lawmaker proposes moratorium on abortion
Abbott's abortion hotline a failure
Labour calls for reform of abortion legislation Shaun Connolly Irish Examiner
LABOUR last night demanded reform of “hypocritical” abortion laws in light of a girl in the HSE’s care travelling abroad for a termination.
The health service has been involved in at least one foreign abortion each year for the past number of years, while the 2007 “Miss D case” was the subject of a highly publicised court battle in the summer.
The legal wrangle again caused Ireland’s post-X Case status quo to be called into question.
If females in care have been victims of rape or incest, the HSE can make court applications to take them abroad, usually to Britain, for abortions.
The 2007 termination involved a foetus which would not have lived for long outside of the womb. The HSE challenged the 17-year-old girl’s right to go to Britain, but the High Court ruled there was nothing to stop her travelling.
The Labour Party has renewed demands for the Government to “take tough decisions” and fulfil the promise it made in March 2002 to legislate for the Supreme Court X Case, after the abortion referendum it called failed to clarify the position. The party’s health spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan, said it was not acceptable for the Republic to continue to export the situation to England.
“There is a degree of hypocrisy in this attitude. We can’t just continue sweeping this issue across to Britain forever. There has to be a decision taken here.
“The Government seems happy to let things slide. But that is not leadership. We need the political will to be shown so that we can sort this situation out once and for all,” she said.
The 1992 X Case provoked national soul-searching when a 14-year-old rape victim was initially prevented by the High Court from travelling to Britain for an abortion. Following the case, the Supreme Court ruled an expectant mother had a right to an abortion here, if there was a substantive risk to her life, including the threat of suicide.
The Government tried to have the threat of suicide eliminated as grounds for an abortion in the contentious 2002 referendum, but this was defeated.
The HSE also paid for one teenage girl to travel to Britain for a termination in 2005 and another in 2006. Before the HSE, health boards provided funds to allow two teenagers to travel to Britain for abortions between the 2002 referendum and March 2003.
A HSE spokesperson said the executive had an obligation to act in the best interest of minors in its care.
The Government indicated before the last referendum that the State would fund abortions for teenagers in care who were victims of rape or incest. At the time, then health minister Micheál Martin said people voted for the right to travel in 1992 and the State could not stop parents bringing their children abroad for abortions.
Pro-choice groups say more than 100,000 women have travelled to Britain for abortions since 1983.
A TNS MRBI poll in the wake of the Miss D case found four in five people agree with abortion if the woman’s life is endangered, while nearly three-quarters agree with abortion in Ireland when the foetus can’t survive outside the womb.
The survey showed that 43% support abortion if it’s in a woman’s “best interests”, but the majority (51%) remain against terminations in this country. The survey revealed those who support a more liberal abortion policy are 52% male, 48% female, most likely to be aged 25-34, and lower-middle class to working class. They are also most likely to live in Dublin or Munster.
New initiative to further restrict abortion in Poland
The Polish Ombudsman Janusz Kochanowski is considering filing the complaint to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal against the article of the anti-abortion law allowing for abortion on therapeutic grounds. He believes this article is not constitutional due to the lack of precision . His intention is to limit access to abortion if health problems are not serious enough.
This initiative is being considered on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the introduction of present restrictive anti-abortion law which was passed by the Polish Parliament on January 7th 1993. His attempt to limit access to legal abortion is grounded in the recent decision of the European Court for Human Rights in the case of Alicja Tysiac according to which denial of access to legal abortion on medical grounds was a breech of her right to privacy under the European Convention of Human Rights.
The recent report of the Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning confirms that the anti-abortion law which de jure allows for abortions on medical, criminal and genetic grounds, in practice is much more restrictive. Abortions are hardly accessible due to highly restrictive interpretation of the law.
The Federation is calling for the liberalisation of the one of the most restrictive legislations in Europe.
January 6th- ISRAEL
Israelis Clearly Divided on Abortion
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Adults in Israel hold dissimilar views on pregnancy termination, according to a poll by the Mutagim Institute. 39 per cent of respondents think abortion, when necessary, is a legitimate medical procedure, 31 per cent regard it as an especially painful last resort, and 30 per cent say it is equivalent to murder.
While 32 per cent of respondents believe abortion is never justified, 55 per cent would consent to the procedure if the fetus carried a grave illness. Support is markedly lower for the termination of an unwanted pregnancy, or for abortions performed due to financial difficulties or when the fetus was not of the sex desired by the parents.
Last month, Israeli lawmaker Nissim Zeev of the International Organization of Torah-observant Sephardic Jews (Shas) proposed outlawing abortion in Israel after the first 22 weeks of gestation. In the country, abortions are authorized by a special committee, which usually allows the procedure in cases of rape, incest or adultery, if the woman is under 17 years of age or over 40, if the woman’s physical or mental well-being could be jeopardized by the pregnancy, or if the fetus has a suspected physical or mental defect.
Zeev explained his rationale for the changes, saying, "At 22 weeks, the fetus is alive. Terminating the pregnancy at that point constitutes murder and not an ‘abortion’. It is an unfounded claim that limiting abortions interferes with a woman’s freedom and right over her own body—we are talking about granting life."
Which of these statements comes closest to your own view on abortion?
Abortion, when necessary, is a legitimate medical procedure
Abortion is an especially painful last resort
Abortion is equivalent to murder
In which of these circumstances would an abortion be justified?
(Several answers allowed)
If the fetus carried a grave illness
If the pregnancy was unplanned
Due to financial difficulties
If the fetus was not of the sex desired by the parents
Abortion is never justified
Source: Mutagim Institute
Methodology: Interviews with 512 Israeli adults, conducted in December 2007. Margin of error is 4.5 per cent.
January 6th-NICARAGUA- Request for Support
Subject: [global2local] your
OPEN LETTER ASKING FOR SOLIDARITY
Dear colleagues from feminist and women organizations from different regions of the world:
We regret to inform you that in Nicaragua, a new action of the increased
presence of fundamentalists attacking feminist for defending the human rights
of women is taking place.
The so called National Association for Human Rights
(ANPDH), which has legal registration (even though their activities and
headquarters are unknown), an organization sponsored by the Catholic right wing
and the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of the country, have filed a case
on the crime of coverage and omission on the case of rape and others (as
parallel action to the trial against the father of Rosita â€“ the 9 years
old little girl that was raped and got pregnant as a result of it), who has
been sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment), against the following colleagues:
1.- Ana Maria Pizarro, member of the Regional Coordination of the Campaign
September 28 for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean
2.- Juanita JimÃ©nez, person responsible for Advocacy of the Network of Women
against Violence (until recently)
3.- Lorna Norori, Psychologist
4.- Luisa Molina Arguello, spokesperson of the Federation of NGOs working
with Children and Adolescents
5.- Martha Maria BlandÃ³n, from the Sexuality, Maternity and Rights Forum and
IPAS Central America
6.- Martha Munguia, director of the Center Mujeres AcciÃ³n Ya
7.- Mayra Sirias, current spokesperson of the Network of Women against Violence
and member of its Coordinating Body
8.- Violeta Delgado, former Executive Coordinator of the Network of Women
9.- Yamileth Mejia, person responsible of Political Training of the Network of
Women against Violence (until recently)
Given the seriousness of the case, the Womenâ€™s Autonomous Movement of Nicaragua has disseminated the following letter:
The General Attorneyâ€™s Office of the Republic, the National Association
for Human Rights filed a case against 9 well-known leaders of the women’s
movement of Nicaragua, accused as responsible of committing some criminal acts.
These compañeras are members of different civil society spaces and
organizations, they have a long history of struggle in favor of women’s rights, freedom and justice, democracy and socioeconomic development of the
country, and most of them are members of the National Network of Women against
Violence. These social activists had an important participation in support
of the denounce presented by ZoilamÃrica Narva¡ez of sexual abused by her
step-father, the current President of the Republic
Through information we received today, the afternoon of November 22nd, we know
that the General’s Attorneys Office has instructions to proceed
immediately in prosecuting the case, preparing the accusation and doing a fast
trial guaranteeing a sentence against the nine accused, to take them to jail.
With this decision, backed by the presidential couple, (Ortega and his wife
Rosario Murillo) an action of political vengeance and repression is being
implemented for those who supported ZoilamÃrica’s quest for justice.
Also, they are trying to negatively affect the credibility of womenâ€™s
spaces and organizations that with courage have always denounced crimes of
violence and sexual abuse of all the victims that have approach them for
We call all women’s and other civil society organizations to mobilize
against this repressive action of political terrorism and to defend the rights
and freedom of our compañras, and to reject through different means the
actions of the presidential couple and the Attorney’s office.
Meanwhile, the Network of Women against Violence has call on all its members to
coordinate a joint response, that several other organizations from all over the
country are supporting, as well as organizations with which the women’s
movements has alliances and joint work, as well as diverse groups promoting
It does not go without saying that we expect all sorts of expressions of
solidarity by the international women’s and feminist movements, which has
historically and permanently denounced the arbitrary actions that are faced by
women who are struggling to advance rights for all.
Your solidarity messages can be sent to the email address of the Campaign 28 of
Thanking you all in advance for your support,
Patricia Orozco A.
Regional Coordinator of the Campaign 28 of September
Let me share with you some update information regarding the situation of abortion in Spain. After more than one month of decisions, judicial investigations, and political statements, the balance is not very positive:
- Prison without bail for 3 people and with bail for two more working in the clinic CB Medical in Barcelona.
- The Health Regional Body of Madrid has presented a judicial demand against the subsidiary clinic of the CB Medical Group in Madrid and has imposed a preventive closure.
- Mayritt, another private clinic in Madrid, was also suspended by the Regional Government of Madrid due to administrative issues (they found some psychiatric reports forms already signed even when they were blank).
- More than 40 women have been called to declare (none have been imprisoned).
- Several demonstrations of anti-choice groups in front of private clinics in Madrid.
- Physical attacks to various private clinic professionals in Madrid.
Even though the demands of part of the civil society and women, president Rodriguez Zapatero keeps considering that there are no reasons for a change in the legal situation of abortion in Spain, as he said at the last conference press of year 2007.
In the meantime, next week, almost 100% of the private clinics, which perform 98% of abortions in Spain, will stop completely their activity to demand a new Law and protection for their professionals. Please, find enclosed the statement that will be published in newspapers on Friday 13th. We are trying to gather as much support as possible so if you would like to endorse it, please let us know before Wednesday 11th.
We are preparing other actions about which we will keep you informed.
Spanish Interest Group on
Population, Development &
Office: C/ Juan Montalvo, 6
28040 Madrid Spain