Ohio House Committee Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood
On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representatives' Health and Aging Committee approved a bill that would prevent Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio from receiving federal funding. House Bill 298 seeks to redirect $1.7 million of federal funding away from Planned Parenthood to other clinics in Ohio.
The predominately conservative committee approved the measure despite testimony from multiple health care providers and religious leaders lauding the preventive care provided by Planned Parenthood to primarily poor and young women in the state. Now House Bill 298 will go before the Ohio House of Representatives, which is majority Republican. Ohio state Senator Nina Turner told CityBeat, "Voters soundly rejected the foolishness of the radical right on Election Day in favor of the dignity of American women, but some lawmakers must not have heard. . . While Republicans rail against women making their own choices, they are cutting funding for education and critical social services that children need after they are born. They want small government, all right - small enough to fit into a woman's womb."
If House Bill 298 is passed, Ohio will be the tenth state to defund Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that under federal law, this funding cannot be used for abortions. Planned Parenthood health centers across the country provide contraception and basic health care including family planning, cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections to approximately 2.5 million women per year. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides over one million cervical cancer screenings and 830,000 breast exams.
In addition to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, Ohio's legislature could also consider one of the most restrictive anti-abortion measures in the country as early as next week. House Bill 125 would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Such a measure could potentially criminalize abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy - before many women know they are pregnant. This bill has been stalled in the Ohio state legislature since June 2011 and is being rewritten so that it can be reconsidered.
Media Resources: CityBeat 11/14/12; ThinkProgress 11/14/12, 11/9/12; Feminist Newswire 4/19/12
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. . . .