Planned Parenthood closed two rural Texas clinics last week. On top of providing cancer screenings, contraceptives, and preventive exams, the now-closed clinic in Midland provided surgical abortions, and the clinic in San Angelo provided medication abortions. Together, the clinics saw over 3,000 patients each year who will now have to travel elsewhere for reproductive health services.
According to Dallas News, "a major reason for shuttering the clinics is that their doctors are having trouble getting admitting privileges at local hospitals--a new legal requirement that goes into effect at the end of next month." Under the new law, abortion providers must have admitting privileges in hospitals within 30 miles from their clinic. The requirement is part of a bill passed by the GOP-run legislature and Governor Rick Perry that imposes restrictive laws on abortion clinics. Five Texas abortion clinics have closed in the past three years, and five others are expected to close soon, due to exclusion from state funding for women's health and an inability to comply with the new requirements.
Fortunately, the Perot Foundation, founded by Ross Perot, former conservative presidential candidate, announced last week that it was giving one million dollars to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. Margot Perot said, "Our family has supported this nonprofit for many years because we are impressed with the work they do--providing birth control; scientifically based education; breast health exams; and basic, life-saving healthcare for women who cannot afford services otherwise." She added, "We also recognize the need to further inform the public of the mission of this great organization and the need to support it at this critical time."
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 9/4/2013; Dallas News 9/5/2013; North Dallas Gazette 8/29/2013
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. . . .