Missouri State Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto on Birth Control Coverage
The Missouri state legislature voted to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto of a law that would exempt religious institutions from providing contraception coverage to employees yesterday. In addition the legislature gave a public rebuttal to the Obama Administration for the Affordable Care Act, the first in the nation. The veto override came as the result of a vote of 109-45 in the House, the minimum needed to override the governor's veto after a 26-6 vote in the Senate.
Under the Affordable Care act, contraceptive coverage must be provided to employees with no co-pay. Many religious institutions have filed lawsuits asking for injunctions against the birth control mandate. According to Businessweek, Missouri is one of 21 states who already have some type of exemption from covering contraception for religious institutions in their state laws.
Following the decision, Governor Nixon stated "By their act today, the legislators who voted to override this veto are standing between women and their right to make their own personal decisions about birth control." The law originally passed in May 2012, and was vetoed by Nixon in July.
Media Resources: Businessweek 9/12/12; Thinkprogress 9/12/12; Feminist Newswire 5/22/12
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. . . .