Federal Judge Delays Enforcement of Alabama Abortion Law
US District Judge Myron Thompson has delayed the implementation of an Alabama law that would severely limit access to abortion services from August 2013 to March 24, 2014. The law, which mandates abortion clinics conform to the same standards as ambulatory care centers and requires doctors to attain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, would eliminate three out of the five clinics in Alabama currently offering abortion services.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have filed a joint lawsuit against the law in an attempt to block the provision that requires doctors have admitting privileges in local hospitals. Currently, the majority of clinics in Alabama have doctors who travel from out of state perform procedures. These doctors partner with local doctors with admitting privileges to provide necessary follow-up care. With the new measure, the doctors themselves must have the admitting privileges. According to the lawsuit, many local hospitals deny these privileges to abortion doctors because the hospital is opposed to abortion or the clinic is too far away according to hospitals standards.
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. . . .