Planned Parenthood TX Denied Inclusion in Women's Health Program
A Texas judge denied Planned Parenthood's request to be included in the state's new women's health program on Friday. The program, now known as the Texas Women's Health Program, provides funding for preventive health care services for low-income women. Previously, the program was a Medicaid program in which the federal government had provided 90% of the program's budget. According to Reuters, federal funding was withdrawn at the end of 2012 because the state decided to enforce a law preventing this type of funding for abortion providers and their affiliates. A nearly identical state funded program was launched January 1.
In the ruling, Judge Stephen Yelenosky wrote "If, as plaintiffs argue, a successor program must be Medicaid-funded then the only legal remedy would be for this court to shut down the state-funded women's health program, not to order the inclusion of Planned Parenthood," reported CNN.
Regina Rogoff, Executive Director of the People's Community Clinic in Austin did not have her funding cut by the program because her clinic is an independent family planning clinic that does not provide abortions. However, Rogoff told ABC, "The idea the state is putting a gag order on what physicians can say to a patient is just offensive...We are sorely tempted to entirely withdraw from this program to avoid giving the appearance that we support it." Rogoff was referring to the fact that Texas has been targeting any clinic that may assist a patient in setting up an appointment or making any arrangements for the patient to obtain abortion services.
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. . . .