SC Legislature Overturns Proposed Abortion Coverage Ban
The South Carolina state House voted 57 to 54 early this morning against a provision in the proposed state budget that would have ended health insurance abortion coverage for victims of rape or incest. The provision had previously been approved by the state House Ways and Means Committee in February of this year.
State Representative Bakari Sellers (D) told the Associated Press, "This is a misguided attempt and a misguided effort to do what some believe is right...When you are that person that is pinned down in the back alley and raped; when you are that person that is actually assaulted sexually by your father - this is not a time for us to play political games. This is not the time for me to say my God is better than yours. This is a time to do what is right."
South Carolina currently requires women seeking an abortion receive counseling on the mental health impact of their decision and obtain parental consent for women under the age of 17, with the only exceptions being medical emergencies and instances of abuse, assault, incest, or neglect, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
State Representative Rex Rice (R) authored the measure and proposed a similar measure last year that was also not included in the state's final budget.
Media Resources: Associated Press 3/17/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/24/10; National Conference of State Legislatures
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. . . .