Curbs on Abortion Spread Across East Europe

SKOPJE, Macedonia , Jul 12 2013 (IPS) – A “virus” of restrictive abortion legislation is spreading from Eastern Europe, health experts and rights campaigners have said, amid Church pressure and misguided government attempts to stop falling birth rates.

Just weeks ago a new law was introduced in Macedonia tightening up relatively liberal abortion legislation which had been followed for more than 40 years. And last month, Lithuanian lawmakers gave initial approval to some of strictest abortion legislation in the world.

Tighter abortion laws are also being considered in Russia and the Ukraine while the Georgian parliament is expected to debate abortion laws after the country’s Orthodox Church made calls in May for it to be banned.

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The 10 most important legal fights on abortion in the U.S.
By Juliet Eilperin, Updated: July 15, 2013

As court fights have become increasingly critical in shaping the nation’sabortion laws, here’s a look at 10 of the most important cases pending right now in state and federal court.

1. Wisconsin. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have challenged a law requiring every physician who performs an abortion at a clinic to have staff privileges at a local hospital, arguing that the measure would force two of the state’s four abortion clinics to close.In Wisconsin. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the law, which Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed on July 5; the judge will hold a hearing on the case this week.

2. North Dakota. The state’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) garnered national attention in late March when he signed into law a bill restricting abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detectable, which can be as early as six weeks. But he has also signed off on bills prohibiting abortion based on sex selection and genetic abnormalities, barring non-surgical abortions and requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortion doctors. The Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging all of these bills, some in state court and some in federal court. The fetal heartbeat bill takes effect on Aug. 1, so there is a chance the federal judge overseeing that challenge would issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent it from taking effect in the state.

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