Women from mainland China who are seven months pregnant or more and wish to enter Hong Kong could be turned away at the border after a new measure is implemented in February. Pregnant women will need to provide proof that a local hospital has made arrangements for their birth, or they will be "denied entry and repatriated," according to AFP. The policy is aimed at deterring the rising number of nonresidents who come to Hong Kong each year to give birth and ensuring that residents have priority access to care. The pregnant women will also face doubled delivery charges (a minimum fee of $5,000) if there is open hospital space and they are accepted.
The Associated Press reports that Chinese women often go to Hong Kong to give birth to avoid paying fines under mainland China's one-child-per-family policy, to gain automatic Hong Kong residency rights for their baby, or to take advantage of Hong Kong�s cheaper rates and high quality of care. According to an AFP report, many women return to China without paying their bills, leaving the Hong Kong�s Hospital Authority with $41 million in debt in the last five years, two thirds of which is attributed to nonresidents.
In 2006, approximately 20,000 mainland Chinese women had reportedly given birth in Hong Kong. As a result, pregnant residents of Hong Kong report showing up to already full maternity wards. The measure will not be imposed upon pregnant women of other nationalities. Law Yuk-Kai, director of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, criticized the measure saying, "Why is it just Chinese women, not women from other places? ... This is unfair, that we choose to target a certain group of people. Women can have a lot of legitimate reasons to travel and people should ask why only women are being discriminated [against]."
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. . . .