Texas Blocked from Defunding Planned Parenthood Again
In the 3rd ruling in this case in a week, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from its state women's health program, pending the hearing of formal arguments. The most recent ruling reversed an emergency stay issued earlier last week that allowed Texas to ban funding. The three-judge panel agreed with District Court Judge Lee Yeakel, whose initial ruling in the case a week ago had imposed a temporary injunction against the enforcement of the law. Less than 24 hours after Yeakel's ruling, Judge Jerry Smith of the 5th Circuit Court of appeals issued an emergency stay, giving Texas the right to enforce its law that would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in the state.
At question is a rule implemented by Governor Rick Perry in March, that states that affiliates of abortion providers are ineligible to participate in the state's Medicaid Women's Health Program. Eight Planned Parenthood affiliates, none of which perform abortions, sued Texas over the law in mid-April.
In response to Friday's ruling, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards told the Associated Press, "This case isn't about Planned Parenthood; it's about the women who rely on Planned Parenthood for cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams...We won't let politics interfere with the health care that nearly 3 million people a year rely on Planned Parenthood for in Texas and around the country."
A court filing by Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell indicated the state would cut all women's health program funds of federal courts order Texas to allow Planned Parenthood to receive funding. The motion states, "State law prohibits Texas from continuing to operate the Texas Women's Program if taxpayer money must be provided to entities that affiliate with abortion-promoting entities...Consequently, the district court's preliminary injunction effectively forces Texas to choose between contravening state law and shutting down the program."
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/4/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/1/2012, 5/2/2012
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. . . .