The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled unanimously April 30th against a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma constitution that would grant "personhood" rights to human embryos, calling it unconstitutional.
Earlier in the month, the state House defeated the Personhood bill. The House Republican Caucus announced they would not take up the controversial bill, saying the decision was based on a Caucus vote.
Speaker of the Oklahoma House, Kris Steele, said that the decision not to pursue the Personhood bill does not mean the House would not continue to take up anti-abortion measures. In a press conference, he said, "We're already perhaps the most pro-life state in this country, having passed at least 30 various pro-life measures in the past eight years alone. You will not find a bigger friend of the unborn than this Legislature, but this bill would not have any substantive policy effect."
Hundreds of women had gathered at the Oklahoma state Capitol in March to protest the personhood bill, SB 1433, which states that life begins at conception and would give rights to a fertilized egg.
Personhood Oklahoma launched a petition drive in March to put a personhood proposal to a vote as an amendment to the state constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a complaint with the Supreme Court on behalf of Oklahoma doctors and residents, asking the court to stop the group from gathering signatures for its petition, which has since been struck down.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 4/30/12; Huffington Post 4/30/12; Tulsa World 4/20/12; The Oklahoman 4/20/12; Reuters 4/19/12; NBC Local News 4/19/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 3/2/2012
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. . . .