On Monday, a Texas judge denied Planned Parenthood's request for a temporary restraining order against enforcing a new measure that prevents the organization from receiving state funding for cancer screenings and well-woman visits. A hearing in a lawsuit regarding the funding restrictions is scheduled for mid-January. As a result, almost 50,000 poor women in Texas will be forced to find new doctors or pay for services at Planned Parenthood out of pocket.
The judge allowed the new law restructuring the Women's Health Program to go into effect Tuesday. The new guidelines prevent organizations affiliated with abortion providers from receiving state funding as part of the Women's Health Program. Planned Parenthood has filed several lawsuits trying to have their well-woman funding from the program reinstated.
Ken S. Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, told reporters "It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women. ...This case isn't about Planned Parenthood -- it's about women like Marcy Balquinta who rely on us for basic, preventive health care."
Media Resources: CNN 1/1/2013; New York Daily News 1/1/2013; Houston Chronicle 12/31/2012; Feminist Newswire 11/2/2012
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. . . .