TX Senate Committee Proposes New Abortion Restrictions
The Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed new legislation yesterday that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a local hospital within thirty miles. The bill was proposed by Senator Larry Taylor (R) of Galveston.
"Requiring hospitals to credential and grant privileges to doctors who provide outpatient services is time consuming and expensive for the hospital," said Stacy Wilson, a representative of the Texas Hospital Association. A potential issue with the legislature is that many hospitals have a religious affiliation and would not grant admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions.
Similar TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) laws requiring hospital admitting privileges have been passed in Mississippi and Alabama. The bill in Alabama was signed into law by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley last week. In Mississippi, the sole abortion clinic in the state has been trying to gain admitting privileges at local area hospitals to comply with a 2012 law, but has been denied by every hospital within a 30 mile radius. The state was trying to close the clinic when a federal judge extended a temporary injunction that prevents the state from closing the clinic until the constitutionality of the law can be determined in a current pending lawsuit against the state of Mississippi.
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. . . .