A bill defining life at the "moment of fertilization" has been sent to the Governor of Kansas to be signed into law after passing in both the state House and Senate. The final version of the bill passed on Friday night after a 90 to 30 vote in the House, which resolved minor differences after it was approved in a 28 to 10 vote in the Senate.
The measure requires that abortion providers supply women with a list of organizations that provide abortion alternatives, prevents any abortion facility from receiving state funding or tax credits, and requires doctors to provide patients with medically inaccurate information. In addition, HB 2253 would define life as beginning at the moment of fertilization.
Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, told reporters "It's a statement of intent and it's a pretty strong statement." She continued, "Should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade or should the court come to some different conclusion, the state legislature would be ready, willing and able to ban abortions."
Not all Kansas state legislators are happy with the decision. Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, said the bill was about "about politics, not medicine." He continued, "It's the very definition of government intrusion in a woman's personal medical decisions." State Senator David Haley argued that the provision establishing life at fertilization was a "Taliban-esque" method of allowing religion to dictate a woman's reproductive rights.
While Governor Sam Brownback (R) has said he would have to review the policy, he is also a strong opponent of abortion rights. It is expected that he will sign the measure into law and that the restrictions in HB 2253 could take effect July 1, 2013.
Media Resources: Associated Press 4/6/2013; Reuters 4/6/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/2/2013
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. . . .