In Minnesota, the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would prohibit women from obtaining abortions after 20 weeks gestation period even through medical evidence does not support the claim of fetal pain. The bill, introduced by Senator Gretchen Hoffman (R-Vergas), makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, although it would permit a woman to obtain an abortion in cases when her life is endangered.
Linnea House, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota told Minnesota Public Radio, "Women facing difficult and sometimes tragic complications in their pregnancies need to be able to make the best decision for this based on their medical condition, the recommendation of their doctor and the beliefs of their family. I trust women to make these decisions, and you should too."
The American College of Gynecology disputes assertions that a fetus can feel pain at the 20 weeks gestation period, stating that there is "no legitimate evidence that fetuses can experience pain." Governor Mark Dayton (D), a supporter of women's rights to abortion services, will likely not sign the bill.
Currently, four states - Nebraska, Oklahoma, Idaho and Kansas - have passed similar legislation. Late last week, the Alabama House passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and at the end of March, the Idaho Senate voted to approve the Unborn Child Protection Act, both of which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, unless the woman's life is endangered.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 4/14/11; Associated Press 4/12/11; RH Reality Check 4/12/11; Minnesota Public Radio 4/12/11
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. . . .