Arkansas Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Abortion Ban Challenge
On Tuesday, the state of Arkansas asked a federal judge to dismiss a court case that challenges the state's abortion ban after 12 weeks.
Attorneys for the state of Arkansas filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of two abortion providers in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the motion, Arkansas argues that the measure "regulates certain pre-viability abortions without placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking a pre-viability abortion." The attorneys go on to state that the law furthers "the state's legitimate interests in protecting the life and health of the pregnant woman, protecting the life of the fetus that may become a child and protecting the ethics and integrity of the medical profession."
The lawsuit, Edwards v. Beck, was filed on April 16 and argues that doctors who violate the 12 week ban will lose their medical license and as a result are forced to turn away women in need of abortion care. The lawsuit also goes on to argue that the measure denies "patients their constitutionally-guaranteed right to decide to end a pre-viability pregnancy."
In March, the Arkansas state legislature voted to override Governor Beebe's veto of the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which bans abortion after a heartbeat can be detected with a standard ultrasound (usually 12 weeks). While the bill does include exemptions for rape, incest, severe fetal abnormality, and to save the life of the mother, the bill is still one of the strictest abortion bans in the United States.
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/7/2013; Businessweek 5/7/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/7/2013
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. . . .