By WeNews Staff
Saturday, March 24, 2007
The European Court of Human Rights awarded Alicja Tysiac of Poland $33,000 after doctors ignored her pleas for an abortion to maintain her eyesight, the BBC reported March 20. The court ruled that her human rights were violated when doctors refused to perform an abortion even though Tysiac was warned that her pregnancy could result in blindness.
After giving birth in 2000, Tysiac suffered a retinal hemorrhage. She now wears glasses with thick lenses that enable only about a five-foot viewing range. She took her case to the human rights court last year to argue that Poland's abortion law--which bans the procedure unless the health of the mother or fetus is seriously at risk and three doctors approve it--violates women's privacy rights.
The ruling will have no direct effect on abortion law in the country, but it does draw attention to the legalities women requesting an abortion face and requires that all member nations of the European Union guarantee that abortions are available under the terms of their laws.
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Numerous media images depicting violence against women drew criticism this week. Thirty billboards in the Los Angeles area and ads on New York taxicabs depicted graphic scenes of a young woman being abducted, tortured and murdered to promote the upcoming film "Captivity." The Los Angeles Times reported March 18 that film studio Lionsgate denied responsibility for the ads and a representative from the studio's partner, After Dark Films, said the billboards were mistakenly printed and distributed before they were approved.
The CW Network program, "America's Next Top Model," required contestants to portray murdered models in its March 21 photo shoot. The show takes aspiring models and challenges them to see who can produce the most magazine-ready photo. The resulting shots depicted women slumped in various positions after being stabbed, drowned, shot or otherwise murdered. The models' challenge was to "bring to life" the crime scenes.
A new poster ad campaign from the breast cancer foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, features women's torsos with words over them such as "We only focus on one thing. Or, depending on how you look at it, two." Taglines threaten to "punch it, strangle it, kick it, spit on it, choke it and pummel it until it's good and dead," referring to breast cancer. The campaign has been criticized by bloggers who say the campaign's violence degrades women.
Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland decreed a Catholic Church TV commercial must be removed because its gender-equality message is too "political," the National Catholic Reporter reported March 15. The ad presents an array of infants and says they will have less education and face more violence because they are female. It appeals to viewers to help end gender discrimination. Previous ads--which are produced to run during Lent--addressed racism, child soldiers and slavery.
A German court denied a Muslim woman's request for a speedy divorce on the grounds that her husband beat her, the New York Times reported March 22. Following sharp criticisms from legal experts and Muslim leaders, the judge, Christa Datz-Winter, was removed from the bench because her decision could not be legally justified. In her January decision, the judge said that wife-beating was sanctioned by the Quran, and the woman would have to wait the customary twelve-month period for a standard divorce.
Alison Bowen is a New York-based reporter with Women's eNews; Nouhad Moawad is managing editor of Arabic Women's eNews; and Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief.
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