Supreme Court To Determine Constitutionality of MA Buffer Zone
On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear a case deciding the legality of a 2007 Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot 'buffer zone' around abortion clinics preventing anti-abortion protesters from entering said buffer zone.
In January of this year, the 1st US. District Court of Appeals determined that a 2007 law establishing a 35-foot "buffer zone" around abortion clinic entrances, exits and driveways did not violate the First Amendment rights of anti-abortion protesters. Protesters claimed that the buffer zone prevented them from conversing with patients in a close proximity. Advocates argued that the law was necessary to protect both patients and clinic staff from anti-abortion intimidation and violence.
The 2007 law has been challenged in court repeatedly. An earlier version of the law was ruled constitutional in 2001 and 2004 also by the 1st US District Court of Appeals. When the law was revised in 2007, it was appealed and upheld in 2009.
The Supreme Court will revisit this decision during its next session, which starts in October. The case is McCullen v. Coakley, 12-1168.
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. . . .