Last week, a Minnesota judge dismissed a lawsuit that attempted to end state insurance coverage for abortion. The lawsuit, brought against the state by a conservative anti-abortion legal group on behalf of "taxpayers", alleged that the Department of Human Services was using tax-payer money to fund abortions for women on state assistance when the procedures were not medically necessary and without the authority to do so.
Second District Court Judge Kathleen R. Gearin dismissed the case with prejudice on Thursday. In her opinion, Gearin cited a 1995 case Doe v. Gomez, which determined that if Minnesota funded pregnancy-related care, it would be unconstitutional to not fund therapeutic abortions (when there is a medical reason to terminate the pregnancy, or if it is the result of rape or incest). She also restated the guarantee to right to privacy as stated in Doe v. Gomez: "the difficult decision to obtain a therapeutic abortion will not be made by the government, but will be left to the woman and her doctor." Since the case was dismissed with prejudice, it cannot be filed again.
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/7/2013; RH Reality Check 5/3/2013; State of Minnesota Second Judicial Court 5/2/2013
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. . . .