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Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women
The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services. The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge. Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska. "By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read. "We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands.

Los Angeles Mayor Announces Model Gender Equity Directive
On Women's Equality Day Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, signed a progressive and inclusive executive directive to take a major step toward gender equity for the city and to be a model for other cities.

Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time
The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections. This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015.

Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage
Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia is receiving national attention for a fraternity's vulgar and offensive signs that were on display as first-year students moved into their dorms. The signs, which were hung on fraternity Sigma Nu and displayed derogatory messages for incoming female students- and their mothers- have since been removed, and the University has promised disciplinary action.

Ohio Bill Would Ban Abortion Due to Down Syndrome Diagnosis
In the latest attempt to restrict abortion access, legislators in Ohio are proposing a bill that would prohibit doctors from performing an abortion because of a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. The measure, HB 135, would make it a felony to perform or induce an abortion for a pregnant person who is seeking an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in the fetus. Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich has supported various anti-abortion legislation since his election in 2010.

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Overtime, Minimum Wage for Home-Care Workers
A federal appeals court decision on Friday could mean big things for caretakers, workers' rights groups, and labor unions across the country.` The appeals court ruled on Friday to reinstate Obama administration regulations that ensure overtime and minimum wage protections for home care workers who aid the elderly and disabled persons in the United States.

Two Women Graduate from Army Ranger School, Making History
Two women are making military history this week as the first women to graduate from Army Ranger School. Capt.

Research Shows the Cost of Unsafe Abortions in Developing Countries
New research shows that inadequate access to safe and legal abortion worldwide causes up to 7 million women in developing countries to be treated for complications from unsafe abortions. The Guttmacher Institute data was collected by Susheela Singh and Isaac Maddow-Zimet and shows that an estimated 6.9 million women in developing regions worldwide were treated for medical complications resulting from unsafe abortions in 2012.

Threat to Kansas Abortion Clinic Quickly Resolved
A bomb squad was summoned to the South Wind Women's Center in Wichita, Kansas, yesterday after a man attempted to bring an improvised explosive device into the clinic. The 20-year-old Moises Trevizo was at the South Wind clinic for an interview for a job with the clinic when security searched his backpack, finding several knives and a bottle filled with gun powder and a fuse.

White House Hires First Openly Transgender Official
Raffi Freedman-Gurspan has made history as the first openly transgender person to serve as an official in the White House. President Barack Obama appointed Freedman-Gurspan as the outreach and recruitment director for the White House Office of Presidential Personnel this morning, thrilling LGBT advocates across the country. Freedman-Gurspan previously served in trans advocacy as policy adviser for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) on their Racial and Economic Justice Initiative, and has been noted for her leadership and commitment to trans activism. "President Obama has long said he wants his administration to look like the American people.

The Feminist Majority Foundation Remembers Julian Bond
The Feminist Majority Foundation and activists across the country are mourning the loss of Julian Bond.

Four States Have Now Defunded Planned Parenthood
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) has moved to remove state funding from Planned Parenthood, bringing the number of states to cut funding from the family planning and women's health center to four. Alabama and Louisiana ended their contracts with Planned Parenthood earlier this month, and Utah cut funding on Friday in response to accusations that the organization illegally profits from selling fetal tissue.

Amnesty Votes on Policy to Decriminalize Sex Work, Sparks Feminist Debate
Amnesty International adopted a resolution last week at an International Council Meeting allowing for the development of a policy supporting the decriminalization of sex work.

Texas Woman Files Complaint After Officer Forcibly Searches her Vagina
An African American woman in Texas says an officer sexually assaulted her when the officer searched her vagina for marijuana outside a Texaco gas station after a traffic stop last month. 21-year-old Charnesia Corley was pulled over for allegedly running a stop sign on June 21st, whereupon the Harris County deputy said he smelled marijuana.

US Government Warns Southern States Against Defunding Planned Parenthood
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a US federal agency, warned of the negative impact of defunding Planned Parenthood this month, a spokesperson for parent agency the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports. The Center purportedly spoke with officials from Alabama and Louisiana, two states moving to take away funding from Planned Parenthood clinics, warning the officials that doing so "may illegally restrict beneficiary access to services." State Medicaid programs are federally mandated to cover family planning services for anyone of child-bearing age.

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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