North Carolina Legislature To Consider 'Abortion Risk' Bill
The North Carolina Senate Health Committee passed a bill yesterday that would require that students are told that having an abortion is a significant risk factor for later pre-term births. The measure now heads to the floor of the state Senate.
Senate Bill 132 [PDF] requires that seventh grade students be taught that abortion is one of the significant risk factors that could cause a woman to have pre-mature deliveries later in life as part of the state's sex ed program. Much of the debate surrounding the bill centers around the validity of scientific studies that suggest a connection. UNC School of Medicine Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Dr. David Grimes questioned the committee, "The World Health Organization, the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatricians and the American Public Health Association all have uniformly concluded that abortion does not cause prematurity. How did they all get it wrong?"
Senator Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford) proposed an amendment that would remove the provision about abortion. "The information is out there," she said. "We can use whatever we want to justify why we want to do these things, but I think that we need to make sure the teachers teach what they are able to teach and educated to teach, and not go into other areas that they are not professionally educated to do." The chairman Senator Ralph Hise (R-Spruce Pine) declared that the amendment failed after a voice vote. In a final voice vote on the bill, Senator Hise declared that the measure passed and did not call for a hand vote requested by Democrats, citing time constraints.
This comes the day after the North Carolina House of Representatives rejected a bill that would require minors to get parental consent for STI treatment, including HIV/AIDS care, and pregnancy care, including abortion, prenatal care, or even in clinic pregnancy testing. This bill was referred back to committee for revisions.
Media Resources: WRAL 5/8/2013; WUNC 5/8/2013; Senate Bill 132; RH Reality Check 5/8/2013
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. . . .