A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that starting July 1, South Dakota can enforce part of a stringent anti-abortion law which will require a doctor, before performing an abortion, to determine if a woman has been coerced into the abortion or if she is at risk of psychological disorders. The ruling was the result of an agreement between Planned Parenthood, who sued the state over the law, and the Attorney General. As part of the agreement, the language of the law has been changed so that doctors will no longer be required to ask about certain psychological risk factors.
Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota, Alisha Sedor, told the Argus Leader, "Like any patient, a woman considering abortion should receive full and unbiased information from her doctor about her medical options. However, this legislation imposes unnecessary government intrusion into private decisions and the doctor-patient relationship. We are disappointed to see that South Dakota legislators continue to insert themselves between a woman and her doctor."
Planned Parenthood still has challenges pending to stop other parts of the anti-abortion law from going into effect. Under the portions of the law that a judge has yet to rule on, a woman will be required to wait 72 hours from the time of the initial appointment and the time of the abortion. She will also be required to consult with a pregnancy help center during the 72 hour waiting period.
Media Resources: Argus Leader 6/27/12; AP 6/27/12; RH Reality Check 6/27/12
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. . . .