A Texas senate committee has passed a TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) bill that would require abortion clinics in the state to meet strict operating standards that could potentially close many of Texas's abortion providers. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SB 537 on a vote of five to two. Similar TRAP laws threaten clinics in other states such as Alabama, Virginia, and Mississippi.
The bill was authored by Senator Bob Deuell (R) and two senate physicians. The proposed requirements would force abortion providers to follow the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, including specifics regarding the flooring and ventilation systems. Many clinics, especially in more rural areas, may not be able to afford the necessary renovation that SB 537 would require and could face closure.
Media Resources: CBS Dallas Fort Worth Local 3/19/13; Houston Chronicle 3/19/13; Texas Legislature Online
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. . . .