Brown University Includes Transgender Students in Health Plan
In an announcement made last week, Brown University announced it will join 35 other US colleges that cover gender-reassignment surgery in their student health plan starting in August. The new health insurance plans covers "14 different sexual reassignment surgery procedures" reports the Brown Daily Herald. Jeanne Hebert, Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services, told the school paper that "We identified this as an important benefit for students to have access to," and expressed that their policy change was consistent with "Brown's efforts to support all students."
Brown's decision is an indicator of how transgender students are gaining more visibility on campus. According to the New York Times, six years ago no university or college in the United States offered gender reassignment surgery or hormonal therapy through their health insurance plans.
The Transgender Law and Policy Institute has compiled a list of US colleges and universities that cover the medical expenses of transition for transgender students under their student health insurance policies. This list includes some of the top ranked schools in America such as Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California system. This listing includes the 36 colleges that cover both hormones and gender-reassignment surgery, an additional 25 colleges that only cover hormones, and a single university that covers just gender-reassignment surgery.
Media Resources: Brown Daily Herald 2/6/13; New York Times 2/12/13, Transgender Law and Policy Institute
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. . . .