On Tuesday May 28th the Lithuanian Parliament secured the abortion ban bill, proposed by the Electoral Action of Poles, to go to the parliamentary Committees on Human Rights, Health Affairs and Legal Affairs for further considerations. 46 MPs voted in favour, 19 were against and 25 abstained.  It will be sent back to the Seimas during the fall session.


The bill was supported by 20 representatives of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, eight members of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania political group, eight representatives of the Labour Party and individual members of other political groups. Only members of the Liberal Movement political groups unanimously voted against the bill.


Under the proposed bill abortion would be possible only if it posed a threat to life or health of the woman or was the result of criminal acts. In such cases, abortion would be performed only by 12th week . Currently, abortions are allowed by the 12th week with no additional conditions. Around 10 000 abortions are performed in Lithuania every year.


This proposed anti-abortion bill has aroused a lot of controversy in the country. One month ago the Lithuanian Social Democratic Women’s Alliance appealed to members of the Seimas to dismiss the bill proposed by the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. “Banning abortion is an act of violation of the European Convention of Human Rights which Lithuania has signed” as was written in their statement. The Alliance pointed to Poland as a negative example of introducing such law: “Polish women risk their life and health by terminating their pregnancies abroad”. They also underlined that abortion is not treated as a method of family planning and women should have the right to make their own decision in regards to pregnancy.


If Lithuania introduces the law which will dramatically limit women’s right to choose and access abortion it will be the fourth country in the EU, after Poland, Ireland and Malta to have banned abortion. The proposed bill is almost a copy of the existing Polish law which bans abortions except in case of rape, incest, fetal malformation or a threat to the woman’s health or life.


The Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania had already submitted an anti-abortion proposal in the Seimas in year 2005, it was even backed by it in 2007 until eventually dismissed.










You know who just doesn’t have enough rights in this country? You guessed it, rapists. Thank goodness House Republicans are here to look after these put-upon American citizens.

As much of the nation focuses on the Steubenville gang rape story, your failed Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) was busy protecting rapists’ rights. Buried deep in the latest Fetus Rights Bill (aka, Sanctity of Human Life Act , H.R. 23: To provide that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization), wherein feti are given more rights than the women carrying them, is a section that will allow a rapist to sue his victim in order to stop her from getting an abortion, specifically if she were trying to get an abortion in a state that allows them while she lives in a state that does not.

Section 2(2) states, “The Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.”

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones summed up the impact of this intentionally vague subsection, “In fact, if this bill were passed and the Supreme Court upheld it, I’ll bet that a rapist could go to court and sue to prevent his victim from getting an abortion. He’d argue that the fetus was legally a human being, and the court has no power to discriminate between one human being and another. He’d probably win, too.”

Yes, the rapist can sue to stop the abortion caused by the rape he perpetrated upon an unwilling female. Laura Beck at Jezebel points out, “Her rapist could theoretically sue to stop the abortion from happening, and probably win.”

This explains why Ryan was so busy listening to his iPod during the fiscal cliff negotiations. He has only introduced two bills that have passed over his entire 13 year career, one dealing with an excise tax for arrows and the other renaming a post office. His only other purpose in Congress is to keep reintroducing the Fetus Rights bill in order to avoid doing the math on his budget. Ryan started off the 113th congress with a bang by introducing his bill yet again.

It’s great that rapists have a voice in D.C., because what they crave the most is more power and control over their victims – and what better way to achieve that than to reward a rapist with the power to force his victim to carry his fetus to term. Representative Ryan has managed to incentivize rape.

Republicans haven’t addressed this hopefully unintentional consequence, but taken in context with their refusal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, it is beginning to look as if Republicans are actively seeking to give criminals more access to women. But still, they deny that there is a Republican war on women. See, there wouldn’t be a war if you ladies would just be willing to turn over all of your rights to men, even if they are rapists (in Republicanese, we are to call the victim the “accuser” so as to suggest that most women lie about being raped… and then, if it was a legitimate rape, you would have shut that sh*t down, so this is all your fault).

Republican men in Congress may not know anything about the female body, including OB/GYN Rep. Gingrey who also co-sponsored this bill, but they still make better decisions about your body than you do, ladies. Think you’re going across state lines to exercise your rights? Not if the Republicans can stop you.

Luckily, this bill has as much chance of becoming law as House Republicans’ 34 attempts to overturn ObamaCare. But what else would you expect from Republicans’ Big Policy Wonk?

Lawsuit against Catholic Health Initiatives appealed to Colorado Supreme Court

By John Tomasic 
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 8:54 am

Lori Stodghill was 31-one years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, Stodghill’s husband Jeremy, a prison guard, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of himself and the couple’s then-two-year-old daughter Elizabeth. Staples should have made it to the hospital, his lawyers argued, or at least instructed the frantic emergency room staff to perform a caesarian-section. The procedure likely would not have saved the mother, a testifying expert said, but it may have saved the twins.

The lead defendant in the case is Catholic Health Initiatives, the Englewood-based nonprofit that runs St. Thomas More Hospital as well as roughly 170 other health facilities in 17 states. Last year, the hospital chain reported national assets of $15 billion. The organization’s mission, according to its promotional literature, is to “nurture the healing ministry of the Church” and to be guided by “fidelity to the Gospel.” Toward those ends, Catholic Health facilities seek to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church authored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Those rules have stirred controversy for decades, mainly for forbidding non-natural birth control and abortions. “Catholic health care ministry witnesses to the sanctity of life ‘from the moment of conception until death,’” the directives state. “The Church’s defense of life encompasses the unborn.”

The directives can complicate business deals for Catholic Health, as they can for other Catholic health care providers, partly by spurring political resistance. In 2011, the Kentucky attorney general and governor nixed a plan in which Catholic Health sought to merge with and ultimately gain control of publicly funded hospitals in Louisville. The officials were reacting to citizen concerns that access to reproductive and end-of-life services would be curtailed. According to The Denver Post, similar fears slowed the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth’s plan over the last few years to buy out Exempla Lutheran Medical Center and Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in the Denver metro area.

But when it came to mounting a defense in the Stodghill case, Catholic Health’s lawyers effectively turned the Church directives on their head. Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect “unborn persons,” and Catholic Health’s lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights.

As Jason Langley, an attorney with Denver-based Kennedy Childs, argued in one of the briefs he filed for the defense, the court “should not overturn the long-standing rule in Colorado that the term ‘person,’ as is used in the Wrongful Death Act, encompasses only individuals born alive. Colorado state courts define ‘person’ under the Act to include only those born alive. Therefore Plaintiffs cannot maintain wrongful death claims based on two unborn fetuses.”

The Catholic Health attorneys have so far won decisions from Fremont County District Court Judge David M. Thorson and now-retired Colorado Court of Appeals Judge Arthur Roy.

In September, the Stodghills’ Aspen-based attorney Beth Krulewitch working with Denver-based attorney Dan Gerash appealed the case to the state Supreme Court. In their petition they argued that Judges Thorson and Roy overlooked key facts and set bad legal precedent that would open loopholes in Colorado’s malpractice law, relieving doctors of responsibility to patients whose viable fetuses are at risk.

Whether the high court decides to take the case, kick it back down to the appellate court for a second review or accept the decisions as they stand, the details of the arguments the lawyers involved have already mounted will likely renew debate about Church health care directives and trigger sharp reaction from activists on both sides of the debate looking to underline the apparent hypocrisy of Catholic Health’s defense.

At press time, Colorado Health did not return messages seeking comment. The Stodghills’ attorneys declined to comment while the case was still being considered for appeal.

The Supreme Court is set to decide whether to take the case in the next few weeks.



European Court of Human Rights announced its judgment today in the case P. and S. v. Poland. Federation for Women and Family Planning and its lawyers have been involved in the case from the very beginning. It is a case of a teenage girl who was pregnant as a result of rape. Despite the fact that there was a relevant document issued by the prosecutor, she had been denied legal abortion in several hospitals. As a result she had to undergo the procedure in a hospital located 500 kilometers from her place of residence. Besides that, her right to confidentiality of medical information was breached, which resulted in severe harassment by pro-life and Catholic activists. The girl was also separated from her mother and placed in a juvenile shelter.

The Court determined violations of Article 8, (right to respect for private and family life) as regards the determination of access to lawful abortion in respect of both applicants (by six votes to one) and as regards the disclosure of the applicants’ personal data (unanimously);  Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) in respect of P., and a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of P.

The court held that Poland was to pay P. 30,000 euros (EUR) and S. EUR 15,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 16,000 to both applicants in respect of costs and expenses.

Read the judgment in full here: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/fra-press/pages/search.aspx?i=003-4140612-4882633


Unspoken Violence on Abortion, a Case Study of Indonesia

by Samsara YK on Friday, June 15, 2012 at 3:43am ·

By : Inna Hudaya & Zulkamal Hidaayat Zakaria



Most people in Indonesia has been viewing abortion as an immoral action because it against the positive norms of society. As some countries did, Indonesia preserves cultural and religious based principles which support a banning on abortion. For sure, abortion is illegal in Indonesia. Unfortunately, the government seems unaware of the side effect of such policy and fails to communicate majority and minority interests which are involved. Majority is people who support government policy on banning abortion and minority is people who against government policy on banning abortion. In this setting, the government and society also failed to identify women as a victim of the government policy. This policy has disposed women who commit abortion as criminals. Those women have been dealing with people who can’t accept abortion although it is associated with women authority over their body and future. As a result, women are more vulnerable to violence because the policy has labeled women who commit abortion as criminal instead of victim.


Criminalization of Abortion

The important point in understanding abortion issue in Indonesia is to recognize that it is illegal but it can be done for some specific reasons. Abortion is illegal but it can be done if the pregnancy will jeopardize the mother or fetus and if the pregnancy is caused by rape. This abortion can be taken before the gestational age of six weeks unless to save mother’s life. Even if it is possible to have an abortion until 6 weeks of gestational age, women still do not have authority over their own decision. For instance, married woman needs consent from her husband and unmarried woman needs a parental consent. In case of rape, the parental consent needs to be given with the approval statement from psychologist or psychiatrist.


Based on the Health National Law No 36/2009, the penalties were 10 years imprisonment or a fine of 1 billion IDR for anyone who had induced abortion. In fact, due to the restricted access on sex education, reproductive health and health service especially contraception, women are more vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy that leads to the need of safe abortion.


Women who are young, unmarried, less educated, poor and living in rural area, are the most vulnerable groups and severely affected while dealing with unplanned pregnancy. At this point, unsafe abortion is the available and accessible option for them. On the other hand, the criminalization of abortion did not impact only on the number of unsafe abortion and maternal mortality but it had created many kinds of violence toward women’s rights. This policy has provided an open chance for industry of abortion to develop. Most of abortion clinics in such industry are illegal, especially in Java Island. Those clinics provide abortion services for women without the considering the rights of patients. Women were taking for granted in this situation. Moreover, many drug dealers used to cheat on women who could not report it to the police because abortion is illegal. Frankly, the circumstance has been creating many forms of violence and problem toward the issue of abortion to grow.


Based on the facts above, criminalization of abortion is violation against women rights instead of solution. The government policy was not only possessing women as an object of violence but it was also letting people to take advantage on the situation of women itself. It is hypocrisy of nation who they believe that abortion is sin and create other forms of sin which is violating women rights.


Criminalization of abortion is not a proper way to reduce the number of abortion. On the contrary, this policy made violence toward women remain unspoken. The only way to reduce the number of abortion is by giving sex education and reproductive health and an open access to health services so women will have a control over their sexual and reproductive life that will protect them from unwanted pregnancy.


SAMSARA Project for Change: Reclaiming Access to Safe Abortion

While the government and society failed to identify women as victim from the ongoing policy, women died and suffered from complications caused by unsafe abortion. There’s no time to wait any longer for the government to take action in saving women’s live. Saving the life of women doesn’t always mean to save women from severe complications, traumas, depressions and maternal deaths. Life also means the quality of women’s living condition which includes access to education, health, economy and bargaining position. Based on the situation in Indonesia, the most important thing is a real programs and strategies that will help women to access safe abortion services and create a supportive network in society to reduce stigma and discrimination. In the future, the social changes are expected to decriminalize abortion in Indonesia.


SAMSARA, an organization based in Yogyakarta has been working to promote the reproductive health, sexuality, gender, spirituality, culture and human rights on abortion issues. SAMSARA also provides access to education, information and counseling on abortion based on sexuality and reproductive health and rights. Through its work, SAMSARA has found an urgent need to inform and empower women so they have sufficient knowledge and support to choose and access a safe abortion. We believe that changes are indisputably needed, not only by supporting and empowering the women but also taking a pro active part in providing education to people; influencing social movements; expanding discourses and strengthening a supportive network.


Since 2008, we started a program called Safe Abortion Hotline where we assist women in making decision and finding a safe clinic for abortion. Actually, women should find the clinic of abortion by themselves. Our main job in this program is to provide advice to women to recognize a reliable abortion clinic, affordable, meets the medical standard and avoid them getting deceived by service provider. Mostly, women have to go through the process by themselves without any companion. In this situation, the hotline is available to assist women in the process.



In 2011, we integrated a Medical Abortion into the hotline program. The hotline promotes the use of Misoprostol which is one of recognized method in medical abortion as an alternative option for safe abortion until 9 weeks pregnancy. Hotline is assisting women in making decision, provide information and open access to safe abortion. In this hotline program, women need to confirm their decision before the hotline counselors refer them to service provider or assist them to have abortion at home. It is necessary to ensure that abortion is the decision of the women, not the decision of her partner or family.


If the women can access clinic, hotline will refer women to have surgical abortion. But most women can’t access a clinic because of the distance and price. Most women choose medical abortion. Once women get the pills, a counselor will be available by phone to assist women when women have abortion at home. Usually counselor will ask women to make notes about the process so all information will be helpful for following up the consultation process. Follow up consultation is needed to ensure that the abortion is completed. Hotline also works on the improvement of its service to help women in every step so they won’t face abortion by themselves when it is being taken.


Between May 2011 to May 2012 we received 1.425 calls, emails and face to face session. 71,1 % of the clients are unmarried women. SAMSARA considers Medical Abortion as an ultimate option for safe abortion in a restricted setting like Indonesia. Medical Abortion is not only cheaper, but it also protects the privacy of the women, gives full control and authority to the women and encourages women to focus and care over their body.


Safe Abortion Hotline is an action in reclaiming access to safe abortion. Since our government failed in respect, fulfill and protect women life, it is a time for civil society to act. The absence of real actions to change the circumstance will remain the unending violence on abortion for women. We can’t rely on government to saves women in crisis. Only by listening, supporting and working together, with or without government assistance, we can save women life. The choice is ours, whether to let the unspoken violence to continue or to change the unjust to a just world.


A friend of mine is a physician who wants to speak about transvaginal ultrasounds but whose position makes it precarious to speak publicly about it. So I’m letting this doctor borrow my site for an entry to speak anonymously on the matter. Obviously, I will vouch for the doctor being a doctor and being qualified to speak on the subject.

Update, 9:14pm: This post is being linked to far and wide, so we’re getting lots of new readers and commenters. It’s important that before you comment you read the site disclaimer and comment policy. I delete comments I find particularly stupid. Try not to write one of them.

Update: 12:13am, 3/21: I’m going to bed, so I turned off the comments for the night. I’ll turn them back on when I get up tomorrow. Night!

Update: 1pm, 3/21: As a head’s up to people, at 8pm eastern time…

View original post 936 more words

One of the coalition parties in the Hungarian government is introducing an amendment to Hungary’s budget for 2012 that would delete the amount set aside for subsidizing abortions. We are seeking signatures by organizations to the attached letter until Saturday 10th December and will submit the letter on Monday.

If you wish to sign the letter, please send your name, position and organizational affiliation to the following two addresses by 24:00 (Central European Time) Saturday 10th December 2011:


We will also prepare a press release on this letter, and your name, position and organization may appear in it.

Best regards,
Gábor Kuszing, Patent Association, http://www.patent.org.hu<http://www.patent.org.hu/>
Stefánia Kapronczay, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, http://www.tasz.hu<http://www.tasz.hu>


The letter:


To: Orbán Viktor

Subject: Stop Budget Cut on Abortion

Dear Mr Prime Minister Orbán Viktor,

We are writing to express our concern that two Hungarian MPs of your coalition partner KDNP have introduced an amendment to the bill on Hungary’s 2012 budget to delete the 400 million forints (1.374 million euros) originally planned to support the medical bills of women who cannot afford to pay for an abortion. Currently the mandatory health insurance covers only the cost of abortions carried out on health-related grounds. If the pregnancy is the result of a crime or if the abortion is requested for other, legal, reasons, the price has to be covered by the woman herself. However she can ask for a reduction or waiver based on her socioeconomic situation. It is this option that your colleagues at KDNP want to abolish.

Studies cited by the Guttmacher Institute—a highly respected think tank relied upon by both sides of the abortion debate—indicate that restricting poor girls’ and women’s access to abortion results in women carrying unwanted pregnancies to term against their will. This should not happen if abortion is legal in a country. Research shows also that even the poor women who manage to scrape the money together do so at a cost: they use money they would otherwise spend on utility bills, food and clothing for themselves and their children, they pawn necessary household item and and are forced to wait 2 to 3 weeks longer than those women who find themselves in a more advantaged financial situation. This results in more complicated, later abortions, and some women will undoubtedly miss the deadline for a legal abortion altogether.

Deleting this amount from next year’s budget will deprive the poorest and most vulnerable of women and adolescents from the ability to exercise some control over their fertility. Thus the proposed measure would have a clear discriminatory effect, targeting those who are already in a disadvantaged position in society and making it even harder for them to regain control over their lives. Our sources in the Hungarian medical profession claim that much of this funding covers the abortion costs of teenage girls who live in poverty or in children’s homes, and of other women who are so poor that the cost of an abortion (29,710 forints or 102 euros) constitutes a major barrier in their access to legal reproductive health services. These girls and women could easily lose their chance to access education; their ability to raise their already existing children could be negatively affected if they were to give birth to another child; and they could be exposed to an even deeper level of poverty.

We would like to remind the Hungarian government of its obligations under human rights law, for example, under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). These treaties and their respective monitoring bodies specify that practices that discriminate against women and girls and barriers to health care must be removed in order for Hungary to live up to its international obligations. Any steps that worsen the situation for women and girls in their access to reproductive health care and that increase discrimination shall be seen as retrogressive and are as such prohibited under international human rights law.

For the above-mentioned reasons we request you to stop this amendment by speaking up against it and by instructing members of your party to vote against it.

Respectfully yours,


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