New Arizona Law Bans Funding for Planned Parenthood
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona signed into law on Friday a bill that will prevent the allocation of public funds to abortion providers in the state. Ironically titled the "Whole Women's Health Funding Priority Act," the law will cut all funding for health services delivered by Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, effecting the nearly 4,000 women receiving Medicaid-funded health care in the state.
Arizona does not currently provide tax dollars for abortion, but those who support the law say it is still necessary to ensure that no money goes to these organizations. The governor's signature comes just weeks after she signed a bill that bans abortion after 20 weeks.
Planned Parenthood is saying the law will put thousands of women's lives at risk. In addition to providing abortion services to women, Planned Parenthood provides a range of health services, such as STI testing, cancer screenings, vaccinations, birth control, and sexual health education often at a reduced cost for low-income women.
President of Planned Parenthood Arizona Bryan Howard said, "Many in the legislature will never know what it's like to feel a lump in their breast and have to worry about the cost of a doctor's visit. This is the reality with which many Arizona women are faced, at the hands of a legislature determined to reduce access to prevention care while pursuing its ideological political agenda."
Texas, Vermont, and Tennessee have enacted similar legislation, along with Indiana, North Carolina, and Kansas, where the laws are currently being challenged.
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. . . .