Wichita Judge fails to issue Preliminary Injunction against Anti-Abortion Activist
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten refused to grant an order sought by the Department of Justice against an anti-abortion activist for sending a threatening letter to Dr. Mila Means, the Kansas doctor who plans to offer abortion services in Wichita. Dr. Means has been the target of anti-abortion protests and harassment since she began training to provide abortion services in December.
"We are dismayed by the Judge's decision," said Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "However, anti-abortion extremists have been put on notice: every threat against abortion providers will be investigated and challenged," Spillar continued. "Rigorous prosecution of extremists who are advocating and using violence is the only way to stop this domestic terrorism."
The Justice Department had accused Angel Dillard of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), a law protecting abortion clinics, and asked that Dillard be prohibited from contacting Means or coming within 250 feet of her home and her office. Dr. Means testified in court that she felt threatened by the letter, and had undertaken numerous security measures in response. Although Judge Marten said that Dillard clearly intended to intimidate Dr. Means, he did not believe the letter constituted a "true threat" prohibited under FACE.
Dillard has been associated with anti-abortion groups in Kansas. In an interview with the Associated Press in July 2009, Dillard revealed she had corresponded with Scott Roeder, then in a Wichita jail awaiting trial for the murder of Dr. Tiller. Dillard told AP "With one move, (Roeder) was able...to accomplish what we had not been able to do...So he followed his convictions and I admire that."
In her letter to Dr. Means, Dillard wrote among other things: "You will be checking under your car everyday - because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it." Later in the letter, Dillard added: "We will not let this abomination continue without doing everything we can to stop it."
Abortion services have not been available to women in Wichita since Dr. George Tiller's murder in May 2009. The Feminist Majority Foundation, which conducts the oldest and largest national clinic defense project in the nation, had worked with Dr. Tiller and is assisting Dr. Means and other besieged clinics in some 14 states.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation; Associated Press
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. . . .