On July 10, by a close vote of 187-182, the House quickly voted down Rep. Tom Coburn's (R-Okla.) amendment to the Agricultural appropriations bill that would have prohibited the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from testing, developing or approving drugs that induce abortion. This is a timely victory for the pro-choice movement, as final FDA approval of mifepristone is expected by late September 2000. Mifepristone, which is now available to women throughout the majority of the European Union as well as China, Israel, Switzerland and other parts of the world, is a safe and effective method of early abortion. It is non-invasive and creates no risk of infection. "Defeating the Coburn Amendment is a significant victory for women's health care," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "Congressional interference with the FDA approval process for mifepristone would have had tragic consequences. If the Coburn Amendment had passed, US women would have faced yet more obstacles in gaining access to this safe and effective method of early abortion, and trials on mifepristone's other potential non-abortion uses such as treatment for ovarian cancer, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, meningioma (brain tumor), and Cushing's Syndrome would not have been able to move forward," added Smeal.
Media Resources: Washington Post, AP, Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .