South Carolina Republicans Back Down From Abortion Restrictions to Pass Budget
The South Carolina legislature approved a nearly $5 billion state budget yesterday that includes a provision allowing the state health insurance plan to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger. The budget was held up in the state House, but passed on a 64 to 54 vote on the last day of the session after Republicans who had been blocking passage compromised on the abortion language. According to the Statehouse Watch, the Republicans agreed to vote for the budget because of promises that legislative priorities next year will include a bill instituting a 24 hour waiting period for abortions and legislation to end abortion coverage in instances of rape and incest in the state health insurance plan.
Once in the Senate, an initial Senate vote ended in a tie, but the budget was cleared on a 22 to 16 second vote as the legislature narrowly met a 5:00pm mandatory deadline to end their legislative session. Governor Mark Sanford (R) will now consider the budget and potentially issue vetoes
Currently a bill instituting a 24 hour waiting period has been stalled in committee due to disagreements between the House and Senate. While both chambers passed versions of the bill in March, the Associated Press reports that the two disagree on how to calculate the one day waiting period. The House bill begins counting the time when the patient receives an ultrasound, while the Senate proposal allows women to download information about the procedure online and time-stamp it 24 hours before their appointment.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .