Massachusetts Legislature Considers Bill Limiting Protestors at Abortion Clinics
The Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill that would prevent protestors from entering a 35-foot zone around abortion clinics. The bill would strengthen a 2000 law that created an 18-foot zone in which protestors had to remain at least six feet away from all staff and patients unless they obtained permission to move closer.
The existing measure was a compromise with the House Speaker at the time, an abortion opponent. Police say it was not easily enforceable. "It hasn't been a real buffer zone," Captain William Evans, assigned for nine years to the area around Planned Parenthood's Boston clinic, said in the Boston Globe. "The law hasn't stopped protestors from going inside the zone. All they have to do is freeze. They can't get into people's faces, but the patients have to go around them to get in." funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
Governor Deval Patrick (D) is expected to sign the toughened bill if it passes the legislature, which appears likely. Mary Beth Heffernan, the governor's undersecretary of public safety, told the Globe, "This would provide essential protection for patients and medical personnel outside of these clinics."
The Feminist Majority Foundation was instrumental in initiating Madsen v. Women's Health Center Inc., a 1994 Supreme Court case that established the legality of buffer zones around women's health clinics. Through its National Clinic Access Project - the nation's largest and oldest clinic defense network - the Feminist Majority Foundation continues to support and protect clinic access.
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. . . .