FL House Passes Controversial Abortion Restrictions
The Florida House of Representatives passed an abortion measure last Thursday that would outlaw abortion based on the sex or race of the fetus. HB 845, "Termination of Pregnancy Based on Sex or Race of Unborn Child," passed on what anti-choice activists have declared "Right to Life" day on a vote of 71 to 44.
The bill's sponsor, Representative Charles Van Zant (R) from Keystone Heights, who is white, stated that abortion groups target black women. "In America alone - without the Nazi Holocaust, without the Ku Klux Klan - Planned Parenthood and other abortionists have reduced our black population by more than 25 percent since 1973," Van Zant told the House.
Despite Van Zant's assertion that the legislation was to prevent what he called "discriminatory targeting," many black Representatives were offended during the debate and a few even left the proceedings. Representative Barbara Watson (D) of Miami chose to leave. She later told the Huffington Post, "I don't appreciate anyone trying to explain what any other ethnic group's lifestyle is and what they do, when you really don't have any authority to interpret it. I think the women and people of color in that chamber deserve an apology from him, but I don't know that it would actually change his point of view."
Media Resources: Huffington Post 3/19/13; The Florida Current 4/18/13; The Miami Herald 4/18/13; Florida House of Representatives
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. . . .