Harrisburg Abortion Clinics Granted 20 Foot Buffer Zone
Abortion clinics and other medical facilities in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were granted a small reprieve from anti-choice protesters last week when the City Council unanimously voted to create a buffer zone around the facilities. Now protestors cannot be within 20 feet of an entrance or driveway to a medical facility without facing a fine. Planned Parenthood requested the buffer zone earlier this month in response to various incidents that have required police response since the clinic started offering medical abortions in December 2011.
The President and CEO of Planned Parenthood's Northeast, Mid-Penn, and Bucks County facilities applauded the City Council's decision "Our employees, our patients or anyone else visiting our patients at that time shouldn't have to be followed, harassed, yelled at or feel that their safety is at risk." Anti-choice activists were disappointed, claiming that the buffer zone is not needed because there are existing laws against trespassing.
City Councilwoman Sandra Reid told reporters "[The City Council] has no legislative power to tell anyone what to do with their body. We're just here to assure that those persons seeking medical care can get there without being detained or harassed."
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. . . .