Proposal to Ban Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood Defeated
An amendment to the Labor, Health, and Human Services bill that sought to ban all federal funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) was defeated last week in the House by a vote of 247 to 183. Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced the amendment, which would have prevented funds from going to Planned Parenthood affiliated clinics "for any purpose under Title X of the Public Health Services Act," reported RH Reality Check.
PPFA currently receives public funding through the Title X family planning program, which provides 1.7 million women with comprehensive family planning services and preventative care, according to PPFA's press release. Funds available under Title X cannot be used for abortion services.
A spokesperson for Congresswoman Betsy Markey (D-CO), who voted against the amendment, told the Colorado Independent that Planned Parenthood clinics "are community health centers that provide preventative and primary care - in most cases to lower-income communities - like disease prevention, education and cancer screenings. Given the massive economic hardships Americans face right now, it's not the time to be focusing on divisive issues like this."
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. . . .