Rep. Slaughter Reintroduces Prevention First in House
Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) reintroduced the Prevention First Act in the House on Monday. This bill, which was not acted on the last congress, is designed to increase access to both contraception and comprehensive sex education and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the US. The bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in early January, is now in committee in both Houses.
The legislation would increase funds for the National Family Planning Program (known as Title X) and for Medicaid Family Planning Services. The bill would also end insurance discrimination against women, spread awareness about emergency contraception, provide rape victims with free emergency contraception, and require medically accurate information in federally funded sex education programs.
"I am proud to reintroduce this bill which serves as an innovative and comprehensive approach to protecting women's reproductive health, decreasing the spread of STDs, and reducing the number of unintended pregnancies," Rep. Slaughter said of the bill in a Senate press release. "If we want to reduce the number of abortions in this country, the methodology is clear -- empower women to prevent unintended pregnancies through education and access to contraception."
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. . . .