House Appropriations Committee Rejects Abortion Ban Amendment
The House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment yesterday to the federal appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2010 that would have enabled the continuance of a ban on using local funds to help low-income women in Washington, DC access abortion services. The Tiahrt-Davis Amendment failed on a 26 to 33 vote. Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) spoke against the amendment. If the bill passes as is, the DC government will be able to reinstate of practice of using local funds to fund abortions for low-income women.
The bill is scheduled to be marked up by the full Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow. It is probable that this provision of the bill will also be faced with resistance from Republicans on the Senate committee.
In its current form, the appropriations bill also ends a ban on the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs and a ban that prohibits the use of federal funds for registration of domestic partners in the District. Another provision would allow DC to conduct a referendum on the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Most of these restrictive bans were implemented in the late 1990s under a Republican-controlled Congress.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily News Wire 7/6/09; Feminist Majority
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. . . .