MD Congressman in Tight Race Steps into Rape/Abortion Debacle
Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) entered the rape exception debate when speaking at a town hall on Thursday. When asked about abortion in cases of rape, Bartlett responded that there are so few pregnancies from rape that an exception would not be an issue. Congressman Bartlett is currently in a tight race to win re-election against Democrat John Delaney and Libertarian Nickolaus Mueller.
When asked specifically about cases of forcible rape [sic] in which a woman gets pregnant Bartlett replied "If you really - there are very few pregnancies as a result of rape, fortunately, and incest - compared to the usual abortion, what is the percentage of abortions for rape? It is tiny. It is a tiny, tiny percentage."
Bartlett was challenged by member of the audience who pointed out that 20,000 pregnancies are the product of rape each year. The congressman responded "Yeah, I know, I know. But in terms of the percentage of pregnancies, percentage of abortions for rape as compared to overall abortions, it's a tiny, tiny percentage."
Abortion exceptions in case of rape became a topic of national discussion last month following candidate Todd Akin's claim that "legitimate rape" does not often lead to pregnancy. The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, Tom Smith, a wealthy business man, also stepped into the rape/abortion controversy when he compared a pregnancy conceived by rape to a pregnancy conceived simply out of wedlock.
Media Resources: ThinkProgress 9/1/12; Buzzfeed 8/31/12; Feminist Newswire 8/28/12, 8/24/12
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. . . .