Governor Scott Walker Signs Anti-Abortion Bills into Law
On Friday, Governor Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin signed into law a bill that would require all abortion providers to attain hospital admitting privileges. In addition, the law will now require women seeking an abortion to first receive an ultrasound before undergoing the procedure. The law is scheduled to take effect July 8.
The regulations for abortion clinics outlined in the law will decrease access to abortions, closing all clinics in Wisconsin north of Madison, and eliminating access to abortion after 19 weeks throughout the entire state.In addition, women seeking an abortion will be forced to "view an ultrasound" and have a physician or ultrasound technician describe the fetus and its stage of development in detail. For women who are early in a pregnancy, this could mean having to go through a "transvaginal ultrasound"to even view the fetus. There are no provisions in the bill about funding for the mandatory ultrasounds, creating an additional barrier for some women. Supporters of the bill argue that women can find clinics that offer free ultrasounds before their procedures. Many of these clinics are Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) which use medically inaccurate information and religious ideology to pressure women to carry their pregnancies to term.
In response to this newly passed legislation, Wisconsin clinics that currently offer abortion services have filed a lawsuit in federal court against all members of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. They are challenging the law as unconstitutional by arguing that doctors providing abortion services (which have been decried as legal medical procedures by the Supreme Court) will now lack the guarantee of due process within the state.
According to the Guttmacher Institute (http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_TRAP.pdf), Wisconsin is the 8th state to pass hospital admitting laws for abortion clinics. Guttmacher also found that in the first six months of 2013, state legislatures enacted 106 provisions related to reproductive health, 43 of which restricted access to abortion as many as were passed in all of 2012.
Sources: Guttmacher Institute 7/8/2013, 7/1/2013; Journal Sentinel 7/5/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/13/2013; Senate Bill 206
Media Resources: Guttmacher Institute 7/8/2013, 7/1/2013; Journal Sentinel 7/5/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/13/2013; Senate Bill 206
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. . . .