The North Dakota state Senate approved an initiative on a 26 to 21 vote Thursday that, if passed by North Dakota Voters in 2014, would amend the state constitution to state that life begins at conception. The initiative, SB 2303, states it "ensures that the protection that our criminal laws afford[ed] to victims of crimes extends to all human beings born and unborn." If the Personhood Constitutional Amendment initiative also passes in the state House, it will appear on the ballot in the midterm 2014 elections.
The initiative's sponsor, Margaret Sitte (R-Bismarck), told Reuters, "This amendment is intended to present a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade." CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Sarah Stoesz, said in a statement, "Planned Parenthood will continue to fight these legislative attacks on women's health in partnership with a broad coalition of doctors, patients, teachers, lawyers and other concerned North Dakotans who do not want to see politicians inserting themselves into the private medical decision-making of women and families in our state."
Yesterday, the state Senate also passed Senate Bill 2305, which would require physicians at Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, the only clinic in the state that provides abortion services, to also have admitting privileges at a local hospital. A similar law in Mississippi is threatening to close the state's only abortion clinic because both primary physicians at the clinic are board certified, but have been denied privileges by every local hospital.
So-called "personhood" laws are often thinly veiled attempts to ultimately eliminate abortion rights. "Personhood" laws also could potentially threaten women's ability to access birth control and emergency contraception, IUDs, in-vitro fertilization and even emergency health care that might put a fertilized egg in danger.
Media Resources: The Sacramento Bee 02/07/2013; Reuters 02/07/2013; Huffington Post 02/08/2013; Bismarck Tribune 02/08/2013; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/29/2012
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .