On Tuesday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed a TRAP(Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) bill into law that will go into effect July 1, 2013. The bill, coined the Women's Health and Safety Act, will require an Alabama-licensed physician be present at every abortion and will require these doctors to have admitting privileges to local hospitals. Further, the bill mandates that the name of the father be reported to authorities if the woman seeking an abortion is under the age of 16. The bill also sets stricter building requirements which would force costly renovations, including wider halls and doors and state of the art fire suppression systems.
While the Governor insisted that the measure "provides appropriate standards of care [and] has been endorsed by pro-life groups across Alabama," Planned Parenthood warned that there will be imminent legal challenges.
The new law now requires clinics to maintain the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. As a result, the state's four licensed abortion clinics would drastically have to remodel in order to stay open. "It puts an undue burden on existing facilities. All of this makes it harder to access health care," Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood said. The clinics will have 180 days to meet the new requirements before they go into effect July 1st of this year.
Currently, the majority of clinics in Alabama have doctors who travel from out of state perform procedures. These doctors partner with local doctors with admitting privileges to provide necessary follow-up care. With the new measure, the doctors themselves must have the admitting privileges, severely limiting the ability of the current doctors to continue performing abortions in the state.
Media Resources: CNN 4/9/2013; Reuters 4/9/2013; Feminist Newswire 4/3/2013
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .