On Monday, Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) filed a "personhood" bill, which states that life begins at conception and proposes to give constitutional rights to a fertilized egg. The bill proposes to give "unborn children at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth." Yesterday marked the first day of the pre-filing period in introduce legislation.
Tarina Keene, president of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, "We have no doubt that this is just the beginning of an all-out series of legislative attacks on women's freedom and privacy." If passed this would ban emergency contraception, birth control pills, and IUDs as well as all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman or girl. The bill would even eliminate medical choices for women, including some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.
In the Mississippi election in November, Mississippi voters defeated the Personhood Amendment ballot initiative. While the state went Republican and voted for many candidates who supported Initiative 26, a state constitutional personhood amendment that would have given full rights to fertilized eggs, women's rights supporters successfully defeated this dangerous initiative 58% to 42% with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
Anti-abortion and anti-birth control extremists have indicated that they intend to put a similar measure on six state ballots in 2012. So far, reproductive rights supporters have defeated anti-choice state ballot measures in South Dakota, Colorado, and California in 2006 and 2008; in Colorado in 2010, and now Mississippi in 2011
Media Resources: Associated Press 11/22/11; PilotOnline.com 11/21/11
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .