Petition Circulating for Florida "Personhood" Initiative
A campaign was launched Friday in Florida to put a constitutional amendment on the state's 2010 ballot that would legally define fertilized embryos as people. According to the Associated Press, the proposed amendment would define a "person" as existing starting at "the beginning of biological development" and seeks to ban some forms of contraception and abortion in all cases including in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of maternal health.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Personhood Florida and the American Life League filed the amendment with the Florida Secretary of State Friday and the exact ballot language has not yet been approved. In order to be certified for the 2010 ballot, supporters of the measure must gather over 675,000 valid signatures. If the measure is placed on the ballot, it requires 60 percent approval from voters to amend the state constitution.
Abortion opponents have pushed these so-called "personhood initiatives" in several states. These measures declare that a fertilized egg is a "person" who enjoys "inalienable rights, equality of justice, and due process of the law." They would threaten not only abortion itself, but IUDs, emergency contraception, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. In the 2008 elections, Colorado's Amendment 48 (see PDF), failed by 73 to 27 percent. In addition to failing in Montana, petition drives for similar initiatives ultimately failed in Georgia, Oregon, and Mississippi for the 2008 elections.
Currently, similar petition drives are also underway in Colorado and Montana.
Media Resources: Associated Press 9/11/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/9/09; Sun Sentinel 9/11/09
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. . . .