In a strong victory for reproductive rights, the Colorado ballot initiative Amendment 62 was defeated by an overwhelming margin of 2-to-1 on Tuesday night. The measure (PDF) sought to amend the state constitution so that "the term 'person' [would] apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being."
If the initiative had passed, it would not only have put a woman's right to an abortion in danger but also threatened the legality of oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado clarified in its press statement, "Amendment 62 is a dangerous and deceptive ballot proposal that seeks to extend legal and constitutional rights to a woman's fertilized eggs. It would ban all abortion in Colorado, including in cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life is at risk."
The proposed measure went even further than Amendment 48, which was defeated in the 2008 elections by 73 percent, and declared a fertilized egg to be a person who enjoys all constitutional rights "relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of law."
The Fetal Personhood Amendment to the Mississippi Constitution is scheduled to be on the Mississippi 2011 ballot. A judge in Hinds County, Mississippi recently ruled against the ACLU and Planned Parenthood attempt to remove it from the 2011 ballot. The "Personhood Amendment," an anti-abortion initiative, from ballots next year, the Personhood U.S.A. movement -- founded by Keith Mason of Kansas and Cal Zastrow of Michigan, both members of Operation Rescue, an anti-abortion extremist group -- has nevertheless suffered defeat after defeat. In February 2010, the so-called "Personhood Initiative" suffered an overwhelming defeat after the New Hampshire House voted 219-122 against the measure. The initiative also failed to appear on Florida and Nevada ballots this year due to lack of signatures on the petitions supporting the measure. Anti-choice forces are split on the fetal personhood initiative, which has proven to be unsuccessful because it exposes that a large portion of the right to life groups would like to outlaw contraception.
8/28/2015 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. . . .
8/26/2015 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. . . .