A group of eight Planned Parenthood organizations filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas on Wednesday to prevent the state from excluding them from its Women's Health Program. In March, Governor Rick Perry implemented a rule that excludes affiliates of abortion providers from the Medicaid Women's Health Program, essentially cutting any government funding to Planned Parenthood. The eight Planned Parenthood organizations who filed the suit do not provide abortion services.
CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Hidalgo County in South Texas, Patricio Gonzales, told reporters from Reuters that the "worst of all my fears is that these women will forgo life-saving screenings, comprehensive exams, reliable birth control and other vital preventive healthcare services."
Following the implementation of the funding restrictions, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the federal government will no longer provide funding through the Medicaid family planning program for the state of Texas. Officials at the Medicaid federal agency said that states are not allowed to restrict patient's access to particular providers and still receive federal funding.
Media Resources: Reuters 4/11/12; AP 4/11/12; NPR 4/11/12, Feminist Daily News Wire 3/16/12
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. . . .