The Georgia Senate voted 36 to 19 to pass a bill that would prohibit women in the state from having an abortion after 20 weeks gestation, on the unsupported premise that the fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks. The bill passed with an amendment allowing for an exception for "medically futile" pregnancies, which would apply in cases where the fetus experiences a fatal "congenital or chromosomal defect."
The bill does not, however, include an exception for rape, incest, or when the womans life is endangered. If the bill becomes law, doctors found to be in violation of it could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
Currently, six states have "fetal pain" restrictions: Nebraska, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. 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."
Media Resources: National Partnership for Women and Families 3/27/12; Think Progress 3/27/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/14/12
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. . . .