House Committee Slashes International Family Planning
The GOP Controlled House Appropriations Committee expanded the war on women globally yesterday. The committee slashed international family planning funding by $149 million, or 25%, reinstated the Global Gag Rule, and banned all US funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Democratin the Committee, summed up the damage of the Committee's actions:
The counterproductive, harmful, and unnecessarily divisive cuts and policy riders...on international family planning programs will leave millions of women without access to critical and often life-saving health services, and will result in 1.4 million more abortions next year. It is unconscionable that the majority insists on including these provisions, which run counter to our shared goals of saving mothers' and children's lives, and reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions.
The Committee rejected on largely party-line votes three pro-family planning and reproductive health amendments that were offered by Lowey, Rosa DeLaura (D-CA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), in an attempt to reverse the bill's attacks on women's health programs.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, which is scheduled to take up its version of a FY 2013 State Department-Foreign Operations bill next week, is expected to pass a bill that includes significant increases to international family funding, a permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule, and a U.S. contribution to UNFPA.
The Guttmacher Institute analysis indicates that the House cuts to international family planning funding would result in 7.7 million fewer women and couples receiving contraceptive services and supplies, 2.2 million more unintended pregnancies, and over 1 million more abortions.
Media Resources: PAI Analysis; Friends of UNFPA Press Release 5/17/2012
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. . . .