12 Texas Abortion Clinics Close As Appeals Court Upholds TRAP Law
A federal appeals court of three judges granted the Texas Attorney General's request yesterday to reinstate restrictions on abortion providers after a federal district court had blocked the implementation of the restrictions earlier this week. Proponents of abortion rights will appeal the decision either to a full Court of Appeals En Banc or to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, some 12 Texas clinics that cannot meet the unnecessary requirement of the doctor having admitting privileges at a nearby hospital will close today.
Clinics, because of the intense harassment of their doctors, have been forced to have doctors travel a distance to the clinic. These long-distance doctors generally do not have local admitting privileges which are unnecessary because in the rare case of an emergency the local hospital would have to admit the patient.
"The immediate impact will be felt by low-income women who will not only lose services to abortion but also to birth control, STI testing, and cancer screening as these clinics close," said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. The closest facility for some Texas women will be three to four hours, especially in the southwestern part of the state.
This is a "deeply disturbing court decision tonight that will hurt a lot of women -- this fight [is] far from over," Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, wrote on her Twitter account last night.
While the appeals court left in place Yeakel's decision on medical abortion, it disagreed with the hospital admitting privileges decision. The appeals court claims that the ruling overlooked the interests of the state in regulating the medical profession, and that the US Supreme Court has held that having "the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate a law that serves a valid purpose," reports NPR .
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 9/5/13, 10/3/13, 10/29/13; NPR 10/31/13
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. . . .