Iowa Senate Passes Bill to Prevent Dr. Carhart's Clinic from Opening
Yesterday, the Iowa Senate voted along party lines 26-23 to pass a bill that seeks to prohibit Dr. LeRoy Carhart from opening a clinic in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The bill mandates that clinics offering abortion services after 20 weeks, which would include Dr. Carhart's proposed clinic, be located near a hospital with an intensive care unit. Since there is not a hospital in Council Bluffs that meets the standards specified in the bill, Dr. Carhart's clinic would not be able to open there if the bill passes. The bill will now go to the Iowa House of Representatives, where it likely will not pass.
In November, Dr. LeRoy Carhart of Bellevue, Nebraska announced plans to open three new comprehensive reproductive health clinics in Maryland, Iowa, and Indiana. Dr. Carhart began practicing at the Reproductive Health Services clinic in Germantown, Maryland in December. The clinics will offer comprehensive family planning, male sexual health care, education programs, and abortion services, including specialized care in late abortion cases. Carhart cites current Nebraska law, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks gestation, as the reason he must travel beyond his home state to provide this specialized care.
Currently, Iowa law allows women to have an abortion after 24 weeks if her life is endangered.
Media Resources: Kaiser Health News 5/17/11; Des Moines Register 5/17/11; National Partnership for Women and Families 5/17/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/6/11
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. . . .