In September, the evangelical-owned Hobby Lobby and sister company Mardel Inc. filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration over the mandate requiring employers to provide coverage for the morning-after pill and other contraceptives. Under the new mandate, companies who do not provide coverage for contraception can face fines of up to $1.3 million daily.
In his ruling, Judge Heaton said, "Plaintiffs have not cited, and the court has not found, any case concluding that secular, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and Mardel have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion".
Conversely, last week U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton granted a preliminary injunction for Tyndale Publishers, a Christian publishing company opposed to providing employees with contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act requirements. Meanwhile, the United Nations released a report declaring contraception a universal human right last week.
Media Resources: ABC News 11/20/12; Jezebel 11/19/12; Think Progress 11/19/12; Washington Post 11/19/12; Huffington Post 11/14/12; Feminist Newswire 9/13/12
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. . . .