Pro-Choice Groups Challenge Arizona Abortion Restrictions
The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Thursday in an attempt to block an anti-choice law in Arizona. The law was signed into effect by Governor Jan Brewer this April, and is scheduled to go into effect August 2nd. The law prohibits women from getting an abortion 20 weeks after a woman's last period, which is approximately 18 weeks after fertilization. The definition of medical exception is also narrowed through the law. The law is the most restrictive in the nation.
The law cites highly challenged scientific claims of fetal pain. As reported in the New York Times, this lawsuit is of significance because it "might bring the first major courtroom test of pre-viability time limits" as well as question fetal pain allegations. Center for Reproductive Rights Chief Executive Nancy Northup said, "This is the most extreme example yet of these early-limit laws. This law also has a radically limited health exception that is completely unacceptable under the constitutional standard." Northup also said to Reuters that the law "displays a callous disregard for the complicated and very difficult circumstances many pregnant women face."
According to the Guttmacher Institute, seven other states - Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska and North Carolina - ban abortion after 20 weeks, with exceptions for a woman's physical health. Similar legislation in Georgia, Louisiana, and New Hampshire is scheduled to go into effect later this year and early 2013. Thirty-one other states ban abortion after viability.
Media Resources: New York Times 7/12/2012; Reuters 7/12/2012; Arizona Republic 7/12/2012; Associated Press 7/12/2012; Guttmacher Institute 7/1/2012
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. . . .