A spending bill released on Tuesday by US House of Representatives Republicans maintains provisions that restrict abortion in the District of Columbia and a planned bill seeks to further restrict abortion in DC. Under the introduced spending bill, DC would be prohibited from using its taxpayers' money to subsidize the cost of abortions for low-income women, a provision that has been included in every version of the spending bill since Republicans took control of the House in 1994. Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) also announced on his Facebook page last week that he plans on introducing a bill that he calls the "District of Columbia Respect for Life and Conscience Act of 2012" which would add more restrictions to abortion in DC.
The Hill reports that the Facebook post says the bill will require parental consent for minors, prohibit anyone besides licensed doctors from performing abortions, and allow health care facilities and individuals to refuse to perform an abortion if the facility or individual has a moral objection. The bill was denounced by Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is DC's only elected official, though she is not allowed to vote on the House floor because Washington, DC, is not a state. In a statement, she said, "Rep. Amash is spending time in the House meddling in my district, instead of attending to the needs of his own constituents. His bill would overturn our local laws with no accountability to our residents."
In May, Holmes Norton was denied a chance to testify in a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing on a bill that banned abortion in DC after 20 weeks. The denial of her testimony by subcommittee chair and sponsor of the bill, Trent Franks (R-AZ), broke Congressional tradition that allows members of Congress to testify on bills that affect their constituents.
Media Resources: The Hill 6/6/12; Washington Post 6/5/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/18/12
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. . . .