The Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected two anti-abortions laws in near unanimous decisions yesterday.
In separate cases, the state Supreme Court determined that both HB 2780 and HB 1970 are unconstitutional because they violate the U.S. Supreme Court's 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. HB 2780 required that women had an ultrasound performed and described to her within an hour before having an abortion. HB 1970 prohibited off-label use of medications, including RU-486, to induce abortions. HB 1970 was defeated by a unanimous opinion from all eight judges and HB 2780 was defeated by seven of the judges. One judge recused herself from the case of HB 2780 because she had issued an injunction against the law in 2010.
The State Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who defended the laws, is considering appealing to the United States Supreme Court.
Nancy Northup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented the plaintiffs in the cases, told the media that Oklahoma has long been a battleground against anti-women legislation, "but despite their best efforts to chip away at women's fundamental rights, the courts have consistently rejected these extreme assaults on reproductive freedom."
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case brought by the anti-abortion group Personhood Oklahoma, rejecting its attempt to challenge the Oklahoma court's ruling against a proposed Personhood ballot measure in the state. The ballot measure, if it were passed, would grant fertilized eggs the same constitutional rights as a person, would serve to ban abortion, and could also outlaw emergency contraception, IUDS, in vitro fertilization, and stem cell research.
Media Resources: Businessweek 12/5/12; Tulsa World 12/5/12; Huffington Post 12/4/12; Feminist Newswire 10/31/12
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. . . .