Louisiana Senate Passes Omnibus Anti-Abortion Bill
The Louisiana Senate voted 34-3 to pass an omnibus abortion bill yesterday that would limit access to abortion in the state by imposing burdensome regulations on abortion providers and forcing women to wait longer to obtain an abortion.
HB 388 will implement a 24-hour waiting period on surgical abortions and require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. Admitting privileges requirements are very difficult to follow if the clinic is in a rural area far from a hospital - a concern voiced by Senator Jean-Paul Morrell (D-New Orleans) - or if the closest hospital will not agree to let the clinic doctor have admitting privileges. A law implementing admitting privileges requirements in Texas has caused 19 clinics in Texas to close, and the Louisiana version is expected to close three out of five of the state's current abortion clinics.
"This bill will seriously impede a woman's ability to access a procedure that is perfectly legal in the state," said Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans). "Clearly this is a deeply personal decision for women, and a complex decision that women often struggle with. The bottom line is that this is a decision a woman should make and not a politician."
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. . . .