Virginia Clinic's TRAP Law Appeal Will Proceed in Court
In a victory for the Falls Church Healthcare Center, a Virginia women's health clinic that provides abortions, an Arlington County judge ruled last week to allow the clinic's appeal regarding targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) laws to move forward in court. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is currently running for state Governor, had tried to have the appeal dismissed, but the judge ruled against him.
At issue was whether the Virginia Board of Health and Cuccinelli would be required to participate in a hearing about allegations that the Board violated an executive order by Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell's order requires state agencies to consider how regulations impact small businesses and to make alternative options available.
The TRAP regulations in question have a detrimental impact on abortion clinics, imposing high costs for unnecessary structural and operational changes, and very little time to adhere to them. Examples of changes required by the regulations include making additional parking available, replacing existing ceilings, and adding showers to all facilities for staff members. The regulations have already forced two Virginia clinics to close since they went into effect in June. It would cost the Falls Church Healthcare Center over 60,000 dollars to adhere to them, according to its Director, Rosemary Codding.
The clinic's appeal also claims that a hearing would show that Cuccinelli pressured the board to drop a "grandfather clause" exempting existing facilities from the new regulations.
About 30 supporters of the clinic attended the hearing in the courtroom, and around 75 attended a lively rally before the hearing outside the courthouse.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 10/9/13; Feminist Newswire 6/14/13, 7/16/13
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. . . .