VA Governor Amends Insurance Exchange Bill to Ban Abortion Coverage
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) added an amendment to a bill passed by the state's general assembly that would prohibit private health insurance companies that participate in the state health exchange from covering abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest, and when the woman's life is endangered. The amendment would also ban women from using their own money to buy separate policy riders for abortion services.
Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, "Banning abortion coverage will only result in dangerous outcomes for Virginia women in need of serious medical care resulting from complex and sometimes life-threatening pregnancies. Such a devastating ban goes against the very purpose of insurance...when unforeseen and dangerous circumstances arise, every woman deserves to have all options available to them when making these difficult and life-saving decision."
The Virginia General Assembly will consider McDonnell's amendments on Wednesday of next week. According to the Guttmacher Institute, "87% of typical employer-based insurance policies in 2002 covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions."
Media Resources: Richmond Times Dispatch 4/1/11; Statement of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia 3/31/11; Washington Post 3/31/11; Guttmacher Fact Sheet 7/22/09
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. . . .