"By and large, states are failing to meet minimum standards when it comes to women�s health," says Judy Waxman, the vice president for health and reproductive rights at NWLC, which cosponsored the report along with the Oregon Health and Science University. The US as a whole received a grade of "unsatisfactory," meeting only three of the 27 benchmarks: annual dentist visits, regular mammograms and screenings for colorectal cancer. The benchmarks not met pertain to such issues as health insurance, infant mortality, poverty, obesity and high blood pressure. The study noted an overall decline in the area of reproductive health, attributing it to factors such as insufficient access to health clinics and emergency contraceptives.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia received failing grades in the study, with Mississippi placing last. The remaining 35 states were deemed "unsatisfactory." The report further noted disparities in health quality related to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and disability, suggesting that "the problems faced by many women are even greater than these overall numbers suggest."
Media Resources: NWLC Press Release, 10/17/07; National Report Card on Women�s Health, 10/17/07; Kaiser Daily Women�s Health Policy Report, 10/18/07
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. . . .