Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved a nationwide abortion ban after 20 weeks gestation in a vote of 228 to 196.
The Pain Capable Child Protection Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation except to save a woman's life. Victims of rape and incest are also exempt provided that they first report their assault to police. This is a change from the original bill which made no exception for rape or incest. There is still no exception to protect a woman's health or in cases of fetal abnormality.
The bill was approved in a mostly party-line vote. Only six Democrats and six Republicans voted differently from the rest of their party.
Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said "[This bill] shows a distrust of women and a lack of the reality of sexual assault." Representative Louise Slaughter (D_NY) told reporters "Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed that women in America have the constitutional right to make their own health care decisions without the government getting involved. Today, instead of focusing on creating jobs and improving our economy, the House majority is once again playing doctor and trying to tell American women what they can and can't do, despite what the Constitution tells them they can do."
Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-choice America told reporters, "Their relentless campaign to outlaw abortion will encourage more criminals like Kermit Gosnell. They will not stop until they completely undermine the ability of women to make personal, private medical decisions with their doctors." Vicki Saporta, President of the National Abortion Federation, said in a statement, "This bill dangerously jeopardizes the health and well-being of women in the United States who need abortion care later in pregnancy for a variety of reasons. Legislators cannot know the circumstances of every woman and her pregnancy, and should not interfere in personal, private medical decisions."
The bill has little to no chance of advancing passed the Democrat-controlled Senate, and if it were to pass President Obama has announced he will veto the legislation. In a statement released [PDF] on Monday, the administration said "The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women's health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make."
Media Resources: USA Today 6/19/2013; Huffington Post 6/18/2013; National Abortion Federation 6/18/2013; New York Times 6/18/2013; Reuters 6/18/2013; Statement of Administration Policy 6/17/2013
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. . . .