Lawsuit Filed by ACLU Regarding Transgender Identification Rights
Two transgender women filed lawsuits against the state of Illinois last week after its Department of Vital Records refused to change their birth certificates following sex reassignment surgery. The department claims that the surgery must be performed by a US-licensed physician in order for the birth certificate to be changed, which is a recent adjustment in the interpretation of the law. The plaintiffs, Victoria Kirk and Kari Rothkopf, both had sex reassignment surgery in Thailand, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The lawsuit argues "that a birth certificate is a fundamental document for any individual, and having a birth certificate that accurately reflects one's gender is critical." At a news conference, Kirk outlined the "significant" problems she would face without a corrected birth certificate, including the potential for harassment and violence if her identification identifies her as male despite her female appearance.
Illinois, according to the ACLU, which is representing Kirk and Rothkopf, is the only state that does not allow people who have sex reassignment operations outside of the US to change their gender marker on their birth certificates.
Media Resources: Chicago Tribune 1/28/09; ACLU 1/27/09
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. . . .