VA Governor Signs Bill to Restrict Abortion Clinics
Republican Governor Bob McDonnell signed a bill requiring that clinics that perform first trimester abortions meet the Board of Health regulations on hospitals, which are far more stringent than the regulations on physician's offices. The Virginia Senate and House voted to pass the bill in February.
Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, "This is a distressing day for the women of Virginia and their access to safe, affordable reproductive health care in the Commonwealth. Through a legally questionable and ethically indefensible political gimmick, Gov. McDonnell has pushed through legislation that may result in politically motivated regulations of first trimester abortion providers that have nothing to do with medicine and everything to do with the legislature and governor's personal ideology."
The new regulations may cause as many as 17 of the state's 21 women's health clinics that perform abortions and provide necessary women's reproductive health services, such as STI testing, cancer screenings, and family planning, to shut down as a result of the cost to implement the required changes. These regulations will significantly and unnecessarily increase the cost of early abortions and will make it more difficult to get an abortion in Virginia. Reproductive rights groups, including the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, and the American Civil Liberties Union oppose the law, which restricts women's access to reproductive health services.
Media Resources: Statement of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia 3/28/11; Washington Post 3/28/11; Associated Press 3/28/11
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. . . .