Last week, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) in Florida and Representatives Annette Dub (D-NE) and Beau McCoy (R-NE) in Nebraska proposed bills that, if passed, would ban abortion coverage in insurance policies sold in state health insurance exchanges. The state exchanges are scheduled to begin operating in 2014. Representative McCoy's bill, which was endorsed by Nebraska Right to Life, also proposes prohibiting private health plans from covering abortion services unless the women's life is threatened.
Representative Gaetz (R-FL) said that he intended for the bill to serve as an extension of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or impending death of the woman.
Stephanie Kunkel, executive director of the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, pointed out that the bill is unnecessary because federal restrictions on abortion funding already exist. She clarified, "Our hope is elected officials will agree this (Gaetz bill) is simply unnecessary and will let it die."
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 1/6/11, 1/7/11; Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates 1/10/11, 1/5/11; Sarasota Herald Tribune 1/7/11; Associated Press 1/6/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/23/10
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. . . .