Louisiana Approves Wave of Anti-Abortion Legislation
The Louisiana legislature passed a bill yesterday which requires women seeking abortions in the state to undergo an ultrasound prior to the procedure. There will be no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. The bill passed the state House with a 79-0 vote, and will now go to Governor Bobby Jindal for final approval. According to the Associated Press, Jindal is expected to sign the bill into law.
The proposal, Senate bill 528, originally included provisions requiring patients desiring abortions to hear a detailed description of the fetus, including its dimensions, and be shown a picture of the ultrasound, reports the Associated Press. These requirements were removed in the first Senate committee hearing. The description and photograph are now optional. Patient's must listen to a statement explaining the availability of both services.
While the bill passed in the Legislature with little resistance, the Associated Press reports that opponents are concerned that the ultrasound requirement, an expensive procedure that may not be available at a local free clinic, will increase costs and make obtaining abortion services more difficult for women.
The state legislature passed a second bill yesterday that prevents insurance providers in the new federal health insurance exchange from covering abortions, reported 2theadvocate.
These two bills follow Monday's passage of House Bill 1370, a bill that gives Louisiana's health secretary greater power to revoke abortion clinic licenses when there are health or safety concerns, reports the Associated Press. According to WWLTV.com the bill allows the health secretary to immediately suspend a clinic's license in the case of urgent health or safety risks. The proposal also gives the health secretary broader discretion to refuse the renewal of existing licenses, as well as to deny new licenses to abortion clinics. The bill now awaits the expected signature of Governor Jindal.
Media Resources: Associated Press 6/16/10; 2theadvocate.com 6/17/10; WWLTV.com 6/14/10
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. . . .