Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson refused to grant an injunction that would have stopped a new Pennsylvania voter ID law from going into effect today. Simpson's decision will most likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The law will require anyone voting in Pennsylvania to show specific government issued photo IDs. Pennsylvania's Secretary of State estimates that 758,000 registered voters lack the proper ID.
Elderly women, members of minority populations, college students, Pennsylvanians with disabilities, and transgender individuals have all testified in the case against the new law, claiming it would disenfranchise them. In his ruling, Judge Simpson wrote that those seeking the injunction blocking enforcement of the law did not show that "disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable," reported NBC.
Four of the six state Supreme Court justices would need to vote against the voter ID law for it to be overturned. Currently the court is split evenly with three Republicans and three Democrats. The seventh judge, Republican Justice Joan Orie Melvin, has been suspended while she faces criminal corruption charges, reports the Associated Press.
Earlier this year, Republican Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turazi claimed that the new law would "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" in the November election. Opponents of the law have cited that the state does not have any evidence to suggest that voter fraud has occurred or will occur in Pennsylvania elections to justify a voter ID law. The US Department of Justice is also looking into the law due to evidence suggesting the law discriminates against minority groups.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .