Arkansas State House of Representatives Approves Late-Term Abortion Ban
The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill late last week that would ban so-called partial birth abortions in an 84 to 6 vote after no debate. The legislation has an exception to save the life of the mother, but does not have a health exception, according to the Associated Press. Doctors could face felony charges under the proposed law for performing the procedure.
The bill's sponsor, Democratic state Representative Dawn Creekmore, says that the law would only affect abortions after the first trimester, according to the Baxter Bulletin, but Dr. William Harrison criticized the bill because it is too vague. He told 4029 TV that "any abortion, say after eight or nine weeks, potentially could be defined by this bill…it's written specifically to make abortions as difficult to provide as possible."
The legislation is parallel to federal law that bans so-called partial birth abortions, a medical procedure that is not restricted to a particular stage of pregnancy. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 2007 to uphold the federal Partial Birth Abortion Act, which bans an abortion procedure that the Republican controlled Congress passed in 2003.
Media Resources: Associated Press 2/12/09; 4029 TV 1/22/09; Baxter Bulletin 2/10/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/18/09
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. . . .