The state Senate of Michigan passed a package of anti-abortion legislation last week in an effort to pass abortion restriction legislation before the end of the lame duck session. SB 612, 613, and 614 seek to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion services with no exception for rape or incest.
The bills would prevent abortion from being a covered benefit under the state health care exchange that must be implemented by 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act. They also would prevent abortion services coverage from being supplied by private insurance policies from an employer. In this case, the employer or the individual would have to purchase a separate policy specifically for abortion coverage. The only abortion exception that would be covered without a supplemental policy would be in a situation where the woman would die without the procedure.
Desiree Cooper of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan told the Huffington Post "It feels like [state legislators] are completely tone-deaf to what Americans want in general, which is for legislators to pay attention to the economy, particularly in Michigan, and to women and their power to say, 'This is what we want, and this is what we don't want.'"
The Michigan House is scheduled to consider SB 612, 613, and 614 sometime this week. The Michigan House is also set to consider HB 5711 which would impose TRAP regulations on abortion clinics by forcing them to meet the same standards as surgical centers. In addition, HB 5711 would prohibit the use of telemedicine to prescribe medical abortions and require doctors to prescribe medicines to induce an abortion in person. Currently 21 out of 83 counties in Michigan do not have an OBGYN, which forces some women to rely on telemedicine for abortion care.
Media Resources: Detroit Free Pree 12/8/12; Huffington Post 12/6/12; ThinkProgress 12/6/12
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. . . .