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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fabulously Feminist News

Ugandan Legislator Urges Legalization of Abortion

Rebecca Kadaga, the Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, has recently called for the legalization of abortion in Uganda. Kadaga believes that it is possible to legalize abortion in Uganda in line with the Maputo Protocol, an agreement led by the African Union that includes provisions on women's rights.

In relation to abortion, the Maputo Protocol states: "State parties shall take all appropriate measures to protect the reproductive rights of women by authorizing medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or fetus," according to The New Vision. Uganda has not ratified the agreement, but local women's rights activists are pushing for ratification.

According to The New Vision, Kagada has reportedly said "the civil society went to the Church and mobilized religious leaders to support the cause of abortion. So it is possible, I do not want us to close the door."


Mary Jo Kilroy Wins Close Ohio House Race

Mary Jo Kilroy won a tight race for Ohio's 15th congressional district by a 2,311 vote margin and officially declared victory last night. Kilroy faced Ohio state Senator Steve Stivers, a Republican, in her second bid for a House seat. Provisional ballots put Kilroy over the top against Stivers, who was leading by 594 votes before provisional ballots were counted, according to the Washington Post. In 2006, Kilroy lost her race by only 1,062 votes against Republican incumbent, Deborah Pryce.

Kilroy was widely supported by a number of feminist groups in her current campaign and had been endorsed by the Feminist Majority PAC, National Organization for Women PAC, Emily's List, National Women's Political Caucus, Women's Action for New Directors PAC, and NARAL. Kilroy is a strong proponent of women's rights issues, including full funding of reproductive services by health insurance programs, expansion of healthcare access, and stricter enforcement of civil rights laws. She opposes the global gag rule and legislation that dismantles Roe v. Wade.

Kilroy told the Columbus Dispatch that "it's always a given that you're most vulnerable in your first re-election. I will be the first Democrat to hold the title of representative of Ohio's 15th in 40 years. I intend to keep that honor and distinction through hard work, through honorable service to the people of this district."


Kansas State Supreme Court Opinion Issued Friday in Relation to Ongoing Tiller Case

The Kansas State Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday in a lawsuit related to former Attorney General Phill Kline's conduct in an ongoing case with Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider who is one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US that serves women with troubled pregnancies and complicated health problems. The lawsuit sought to have Kline, who originally launched an investigation into Tiller’s practice in 2006, relinquish all medical records and be held in contempt of court. Though the ruling called Kline's conduct inexcusable, the only sanction against him is that he must deliver "a full and complete and understandable set of any and all materials gathered or generated by Kline and/or his subordinates in their abortion-related investigation and/or prosecution" to the Attorney General's office.

Current Kansas Attorney General Steve Six has criticized the investigation of Tiller by Kline, but has said the charges against Tiller should stand, according to the Associated Press. Tiller's attorney's filed a motion in September asking the court to either suppress evidence or dismiss the charges against Tiller because of alleged "outrageous" misconduct of the preliminary investigation into Tiller's practice by Kline and Eric Rucker, a state attorney.

Friday's opinion heavily criticized Kline's conduct: "Kline exhibits little, if any, respect for the authority of this court or for his responsibility to it and to the rule of law it husbands. His attitude and behavior are inexcusable, particularly for someone who purports to be a professional prosecutor. It is plain that he is interested in the pursuit of justice only as he chooses to define it."

Planned Parenthood of Kansas President Peter Brownlie told the Capital-Journal that "the court confirms what Planned Parenthood has said all along: Phill Kline is a zealot pursuing a lawless prosecution and misusing the people’s trust to advance a radical anti-choice political agenda."

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