US District Court Judge Catherine Eagles issued a preliminary injunction yesterday against a provision in a North Carolina abortion law that would require abortion providers to perform an ultrasound at least four hours prior to an abortion. The law, scheduled to take effect today, would also require that providers describe the images in the ultrasound to the woman and offer patients the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat. Judge Eagles indicated that the plaintiffs in the case would likely prove these portions of the law unconstitutional. Judge Eagles did not however block a provision of the law that imposes a 24 hour waiting period on women seeking abortions.
Melissa Reed, vice president for public policy at Planned Parenthood Health Systems, stated, "Today the court stood on the side of women and health care providers who are faced with personal, private and very complicated medical decisions every day."
In July, the North Carolina General Assembly voted to override Governor Beverly Perdue's (D-NC) veto of an abortion bill. It is estimated that the new requirements would lead to around 2,900 additional births annually and would cost taxpayers $6.7 million in the first year and $35 million over five years.
Media Resources: Washington Post 10/26/11; Reuters 10/25/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/28/11
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. . . .