Recently, an Illinois Appeals Court ruled in favor of two pharmacists who refused to fill emergency contraception prescriptions on the basis of their religious beliefs. On Friday, September 21, the court determined the plaintiffs', Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog, right to conscience permitted them from dispensing the morning-after pill as required by a 2005 executive order.
An amicus brief on behalf of the state has been filed in response by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU). Ed Yohnka, ACLU spokesperson responded to the Appeals Court ruling by saying, "We are dismayed that the court expressly refused to consider the interests of women who are seeking lawful prescription medication and essentially held that the religious practice of individuals trumps women's health care."
In February, Washington state officials blocked the state from enforcing rules requiring pharmacists to provide emergency contraception regardless of religious objections. Last week, the New York City school system began a pilot program offering emergency contraception to some high schools students.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 09/27/12; Washington Times 02/22/12; Huffington Post 09/21/12; Court Opinion 09/21/12; Chicago Tribune 09/22/12
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. . . .