Circuit Court Strikes Down Arizona Anti-abortion Bill
An Arizona bill intended to strip Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that provide abortions was defeated in court last week.
House Bill 2800 was passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2012, but Planned Parenthood challenged it before it could be enforced. The bill would have prevented low-income Medicaid recipients from receiving coverage for family planning services, annual exams, and cancer screenings from clinics that also provide abortions.
The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that the bill violates a federal Medicaid Act requirement that gives patients the freedom to choose their healthcare providers. Anti-choice leaders can either appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or reintroduce the legislation at the state level in 2014.
"This is a victory for the thousands of low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical- cancer screenings, birth control and other basic health care," Planned Parenthood Arizona President and CEO Bryan Howard said in a statement.
In May, the same court overturned a 2012 state law that banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This past legislative session was the first in more than a decade in which lawmakers failed to pass an abortion-related measure.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 8/22/2013; AZ Central 8/22/2013;
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. . . .