All-Male Congressional Committee Holds Hearing on Restricting Abortions
A House judiciary subcommittee held an all-male hearing yesterday on restricting women's access to abortion.
Not one female member of Congress is on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice which is considering whether to advance the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7). Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who heads the subcommittee, denied a request from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to testify at the hearing. Norton, who represents the District of Columbia which would be specially affected by H.R. 7, had submitted the request to Franks ahead of the hearing. Subsequently, at the hearing, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) made a motion for Norton to testify. That motion was also denied.
H.R. 7, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), would restrict abortion access across the United States by prohibiting federal money from covering abortions or providing funding for any health benefit plans that cover abortion, thereby banning insurance coverage for abortion in Affordable Care Act state-level insurance marketplaces. The Act would also affect private insurance coverage by making small businesses pay more for health benefits if they choose to offer insurance plans that cover abortions. In addition, the Act would change the tax code to eliminate medical-expense deductions for abortion care, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
In D.C. the Act would prohibit the District from spending its own local funds on abortion care for low-income women. In a statement released after the hearing, Norton wrote that the subcommittee has been obsessed with dual objectives - infringing on the District's right to self-government and interfering with the reproductive health of the District's female residents, particularly its low-income women.
Less than ten days into the New Year and House Republicans are at it again renewing their assault on women's reproductive rights, said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA). The American people are waiting for the House to act on critical national issues like unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, and passing comprehensive immigration reform, but Republicans cannot move past their backward obsession with rolling back women's health care rights.
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. . . .