Health Care Law Challenged in Virginia Appeals Court
The Obama administration defended the constitutionality of the 2010 health care act Tuesday before a panel of three federal appeals court judges in a Virginia courtroom. All three randomly selected judges, two of which were appointed by President Obama himself, indicated they are likely to uphold the healthcare law.
Supporters and opponents of the law gathered outside of the federal courthouse throughout the proceedings. The hearing centered on the question of Congress' constitutional authority in regulating interstate commerce in the health care law's mandate that individuals obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty.
The lawsuits, brought separately by the state of Virginia and by Liberty University, a private religious school founded by Jerry Falwell, are just two of 30 filed across the country challenging the federal law. An Atlanta appeals court is set to hear oral arguments next month on a challenge filed jointly by 26 states. This particular provision has been previously challenged in Virginia, as well as in Florida and Michigan. This hearing, however, marked the first time any of the lawsuits filed against the law has reached the appellate level.
Currently under the health care act, certain preventive procedures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears, tobacco cessation services, and obesity prevention services, no longer require a co-payment or other direct costs. President Obama signed the final version of the health care act in March. The final law will eventually add coverage for 32 million people, increasing access to family planning and preventive care.
Media Resources: National Public Radio 5/11/11; Los Angeles Times 5/11/11; New York Times 5/10/11; Washington Post 5/10/11; USA Today 5/10/11; Feminist Newswire 2/1/11
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .