Arizona Court Rules in Favor of Inmates' Abortion Rights
An Arizona judge ordered Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio to end a requirement for inmates to prepay transportation and security costs prior to obtaining an abortion. A 2005 lawsuit struck down the Arpaio's policy of prohibiting jail officials from transporting a prisoner for an abortion without a court order. However, Arpaio allegedly began requiring women to pre-pay for security and transportation costs associated with acquiring an abortion.
Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona, said in a statement, "The courts have already confirmed that Arizona prison officials cannot put up roadblocks to abortion care simply because they do not agree with the decision to end a pregnancy...It is time for Sheriff Arpaio to stop wasting taxpayer dollars to impose his own morality on women in his jails and to start upholding the law."
The original policy that required a court order to access an abortion was challenged by an inmate in 2004. The ACLU sued and won on behalf of the women, "confirm[ing] [their] position that Arizona prison officials cannot ignore the medical needs of prisoners simply because they do not agree with the decision to end a pregnancy." As part of the settlement, the sheriff agreed to allow female inmates access to have safe, timely, and legal abortions. The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal of the case in 2008.
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. . . .