Yesterday a Wyoming state House committee voted 5 to 3 to reject a bill that would have prohibited abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
House Bill 97 was introduced into the Wyoming House Labor Health and Social Services committee yesterday by Representative Kendell Kroeker (R-Evansville). The committee debated for over two hours before rejecting the bill. Many representatives cited legal and medical vagueness as a reason to reject the bill. Representative Mary Throne (D-Cheyenne) questioned "Is this abortion illegal at 22 days with a highly invasive ultrasound or is it illegal at 9 weeks when we hear a heartbeat with a stethoscope?" Republican Representative Norine Kasperik (Gillette) pointed out that during the discussion she also heard different answers for when a heartbeat is detectable. Kasperik said, "These are questions that I feel like I have not heard answers to and have concerns about the vagueness of some of the language within the bill."
Representative Sue Wallis (R-Recluse) shared her own abortion story, which happened when she was facing both a difficult pregnancy and a custody battle for her three children against an abusive ex-husband. "The notion that protected human life begins at the moment of conception is some religious sects' interpretation, certainly not mine" she declared.
Wyoming is not the only state that has considered a ban on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Ohio state legislature faced the same decision last year when a heartbeat bill passed the Ohio House of Representatives, but expired in the state Senate without being brought to the floor.
Media Resources: Casper Star-Tribune 1/29/2013; San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/2013; Feminist Newswire 11/28/2012
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. . . .