After a long delay, the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Bill is now being considered by the Wisconsin State Assembly. The bill, which would require hospitals to provide rape victims with information about emergency contraception and access to the medication if it is requested, already passed the State Senate with a 27-6 vote. It has been stalled in the Judiciary and Ethics Committee of the State Assembly.
Representative Mark Gundrum, chair of the committee, finally granted a long-awaited hearing on the bill last Thursday. A Republican who opposes the bill, Rep. Gundrum resisted holding hearings because of his concerns regarding doctors with religious objections to emergency contraception. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), a sponsor of the Assembly bill, stated that the bill already made exceptions for these doctors. Rep. Pocan anticipates an attempt by opponents to amend the legislation, which he said he would be open to as long as the alterations do not "gut" the bill, the Capital Times reports.
Although the bill has faced recent defeats in the state Legislature, similar legislation has been successful elsewhere. Chris Taylor, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, stated, "Nine other states have passed this law and there has never been a constitutional challenge. The state clearly has the right to regulate health care professionals and entities to protect the safety, health and life of patients," reports the Capital Times.
Media Resources: Madison Times 9/7/07, 9/6/07, 9/5/07; Daily Cardinal 9/10/07
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. . . .