The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced this week that 14 abortion clinics across the state have been given a reprieve from compliance with Amendment 122, a Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) law. The amendment, passed in December 2011, went into effect yesterday. Under the law, clinics must comply with strict ambulatory surgical facility regulations which could potentially shut down all 22 clinics in the state. According to Essential Public Radio, one clinic has already closed, and eight are restricting services because they are unable to afford to comply with the mandated changes.
As reported in the York Daily Record, clinics have had to renovate buildings, buy new equipment, and re-train staff at high costs. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania CEO Kimberlee Evert said of the changes, "Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania's doors are open today and they will be open tomorrow. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our patients. Even in the face of burdensome, medically unnecessary regulations, we will do what it takes to be there for the women counting on us."
Clinics were awarded either a three or six month reprieve from compliance, depending upon the classification of the clinic. Under the law, Class A clinics perform surgeries with local anesthetic, while Class B clinics perform surgeries with stronger anesthesia. According to the Guttmacher Institute, TRAP laws were introduced in 19 states in 2011 and in 14 states in 2012. As reported by the Feminist Daily Newswire, TRAP laws in Virginia were voted on last week.
Media Resources: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 6/19/2012; York Daily Record 6/18/2012; Allentown Morning Call 6/18/2012; Essential Public Radio 6/19/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/18/2012
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. . . .