Thursday evening, the Ohio state Senate passed a $61.7 billion state budget that partially defunds Planned Parenthood and could close abortion clinics across the state. The Senate budget bill is scheduled to go to the House for a vote next week.
The budget, passed by the Senate along party lines in a vote of 23 to 10, strips $2 million in family planning funds from Planned Parenthood. The budget then also redirects family planning funds toward deceptive crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs are often owned and operated by churches or anti-abortion groups that pose as legitimate health centers. CPCs do not have the staff to provide medically accurate information and often convey religious beliefs in an attempt to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term. The budget also includes a provision that would deny federal funding to rape crisis centers who provide information on abortion to rape victims.
Another provision of the Ohio budget as passed by the Senate could potentially close abortion clinics throughout the state. The provision prohibits abortion clinics from have transfer agreements with public hospitals in case a patient needs additional care. However, in order for ambulatory surgical centers to be licensed by the state, they are required to have such transfer agreements in place.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told reporters, "This proposal will wreak havoc on tens of thousands of patients that rely on these facilities, and could result in 11 counties losing access to subsidized family planning services entirely." She continued, "This is about paperwork... If they can't make abortion illegal, they can make it virtually impossible to access by closing every clinic they can gets their hands on."
Media Resources: Reuters 6/6/2013; ThinkProgress 6/6/2013; WKSU 6/6/2013
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. . . .