On Wednesday, the Oklahoma state Senate voted 34 to 8 in favor of a bill, which states that life begins at conception and would give rights to a fertilized egg. The bill is expected to be passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives. The Oklahoma State Medical Association has come out against the bill since it could ban women from accessing contraception.
Senator Judy Eason McIntyre (D-Tulsa) stated, "What do we do in Oklahoma? You get in our bodies. Women have a right to make choices about their bodies. Women should not have the government tell us what we can do with our bodies."
If the personhood initiative appears on the ballot, emergency contraception, birth control pills, IUDs, and abortions - even in cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the woman or girl - would be threatened. The initiative would even go so far as to eliminate medical choices for women, including some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.
If passed in the Senate and signed by the Governor, the law would directly challenge the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the US and perhaps Griswold v. Connecticut, which struck down state laws banning birth control.
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 2/17/12; Associated Press 2/15/12
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. . . .