A federal court yesterday ratified an agreement to block two provisions of a new Louisiana state ultrasound law. The Center for Reproductive Rights and six Louisiana abortion clinics filed a lawsuit challenging the law earlier this month. The agreement is between the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Louisiana state Department of Health and Hospitals.
The first blocked provision required all women who are seeking an abortion to view a photograph of an ultrasound image prior to the procedure, without exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest. The CRR had argued that the ultrasound requirement was "unconstitutionally vague" because it did not define whether a doctor must require the patient to view the ultrasound or to accept printed copies, according to the Independent Weekly. In the agreement, the Department of Health and Hospitals said that the woman does not have to see the photograph, but that the new law requires the photograph be offered to the woman, according to theAssociated Press.
The second blocked provision required doctors to provide patients with a list of locations where they can get free ultrasounds. The agreement declares this part of the law "unenforceable" because the state has not yet compiled or distributed this list to the clinics.
Part of the lawsuit is ongoing. The lawsuit challenges the provision that bans medical malpractice insurance coverage for doctors who provide elective abortions. The CRR argues that this provision denies abortion providers equal legal protection.
Stephanie Toti, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a press release that "we are very pleased with the agreement we reached with the state...Doctors need to be able to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients, not in the best interest of politicians."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 8/13/10; Independent Weekly 8/13/10; Associated Press 8/19/10; Center for Reproductive Rights Press Release 8/19/10
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. . . .