US District Judge Daniel P. Jordan issued a temporary injunction yesterday preventing implementation of a new Mississippi state law that could force closure of The Jackson Women's Health Organization, Mississippi's only abortion clinic. Judge Jordan scheduled a hearing for July 11 when he will determine if the order should be extended. The Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law, scheduled to go into effect today, requires all doctors performing abortions in Mississippi clinics to be OB-GYNs with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Although all doctors at the Jackson Clinic are OB-GYNs, they have been refused admittance privileges to all hospitals within a 30 minute drive from the clinic.
If the law is allowed to go into effect, the closing of the Jackson clinic will force women needing abortions to drive three hours to the nearest clinic. Jackson Women's Health Organization owner Diane Derzis, who has expressed her concern that women will seek abortions from "backstreet providers", said "There is no question about it; some women are going to do whatever it takes. This doesn't affect women with money so much, it is the women who are poor, with no resources that will suffer."
The clinic filed a lawsuit with assistance from the Center for Reproductive Rights contending that the law is not medically necessary and is intended to close the clinic. As reported by the New York Times, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant stated while signing the bill that he wants the state to be "abortion-free." Similar statements are included on the website of Lt. Governor Tate Reeve.
The Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northup said in an interview with the Guardian, "While we are pleased the court has decided to temporarily block enforcement of this medically unwarranted restriction, this battle is far from over. We will continue to fight alongside the Jackson Women's Health Organization to ensure that the women of Mississippi are not relegated to a second class of US citizens, denied the constitutionally-protected rights that other women nationwide are guaranteed."
Media Resources: The Guardian 7/1/12; New York Times 7/1/12; Reuters 7/1/12; The Washington Post 7/1/12
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. . . .