Race is Neck-in-Neck to Defeat Abortion Ban in South Dakota
In polling released this weekend by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a measure to ban abortion in South Dakota is currently running dead even. Forty-four percent of 800 registered voters surveyed said they would vote Yes on Initiated Measure 11, and an equal number said they would vote No. Twelve percent remain undecided.
Jan Nicolay of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, which opposes Initiated Measure 11, told the Argus Leader, "We believe we will continue to gain ground as more South Dakotans learn about the medical community's opposition to this abortion ban because of the dangerous government intrusion into the private medical decisions that affect how doctors treat women."
South Dakota voters rejected a similar ban in 2006; this time, its supporters added so-called exceptions for a woman's health and in cases of rape and incest. However, doctors are concerned that the language of the health exception is so vague that it could have serious legal ramifications. The ban would make doctors liable for criminal prosecution and sentences of up to 10 years in jail. South Dakota already has among the nation's most rigid regulations to complicate access to safe abortions.
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. . . .