In a 5-4 decision yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The law, which went into effect on October 31, immediately forced about one-third of the state's abortion providers to stop providing services.
"We are disappointed by the Supreme Court's failure to block this unnecessary, burdensome Texas law. It's only purpose is to deny women access to abortion - an essential part of women's reproductive health care," said Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "Texas women deserve better."
The Court's decision was not on the constitutionality of the Texas law. That question will be considered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to hear arguments in January.
Last month, a federal district court struck down the Texas admitting privileges requirement, ruling that it was unconstitutional. Judge Lee Yeakel found that the provision had no rational relationship to improving patient care, treatment, or outcomes, and would place an undue burden on women seeking abortion services.
The state immediately appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which granted the state's request to stay Judge Yeakel's decision and allow the law to go forward pending a decision on the law's constitutionality. Texas abortion providers then filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court to block the law.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire, 10/29/2013; Feminist Newswire, 11/5/2013; SCOTUSblog, 11/19/2013;
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. . . .