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
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .