Yesterday US District Court Judge Thomas Marten ruled that the state of Kansas must continue to distribute federal family planning funds to the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic after a law went into effect on July 1 banning Title X family planning funding from going to the clinic. The law requires that the state allocate all federal family planning money to hospitals and public health departments. The Dodge City Clinic indicated that unless the funding is restored, the clinic would be forced to close in a few weeks. The clinic's closure would affect approximately 650 women, many of whom are low income.
Earlier this month, Judge Marten ruled that the Dodge City Family Planning Clinic could join a lawsuit, filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM), challenging the Kansas law. Judge Marten indicated that PPKM and the Dodge City Medical Clinic have "the same interest" in their cases to restore Title X funding.
On August 1, Judge Marten temporarily blocked the enforcement of the law, which prevented Planned Parenthood from receiving $330,000 of federal money for fiscal year 2011-2012. Judge Marten wrote, "Residents of Wichita and Hays, Kan., will be best assured of continued family planning services by maintaining the status quo."
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 10/19/11; Associated Press 10/18/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/12/11
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. . . .