Missouri State Senate Passes Expanded Abortion Bill
The Missouri state Senate passed a bill Thursday on a 26 to 5 vote to expand upon their existing abortion restrictions such as a 24-hour waiting period prior to the procedure. The bill includes a provision that would ban abortion coverage in the state's to-be-created health insurance exchange mandated by the new federal health reform package. The bill (SB 793) now moves to the state House for further debate, reported CBS.
According to the bill, the "physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or a qualified professional [must present] to the pregnant woman various new printed materials to be developed by the Department of Health and Senior Services by November 30, 2010, detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn child at two-week gestational increments" at least 24 hours prior to an abortion. A qualified professional must also "discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father's liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program."
Additionally, the bill requires women to have the opportunity to view an "active ultrasound" and hear "the heartbeat of the unborn child, if the heartbeat is audible." It also requires women to be informed about fetus' possible ability to feel pain. An abortion cannot be performed until women seeking the procedure complete and sign a checklist that states she has been fully informed of all required information.
According to ABC, a separate bill in the state House criminalizes the coercion of abortion and requires medical professionals to report to prosecutors when teenagers seek out the procedure.
A third bill, introduced in the state Senate last month, would require doctors to ask women seeking abortion services about their reasons for seeking the procedure. Women would not be required to respond to the question. State Senator Tom Dempsey (R), the bill's sponsor, argues that the information would help the government better understand women's reasons for abortion, according to Missouri Net.
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. . . .