Under Vratil's decision, abortion providers must offer the state provided contested information about fetal development, including fetal pain, on their websites. This decision overruled a decision by Kansas Judge Rebecca Crotty that the provision compelling providers to post such information on their websites was a violation of free speech.
The provision was part of a far-reaching law restricting abortion access that Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed in early April. Provisions in the law include a 24 hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, requiring abortion providers to supply women with a list of abortion alternatives, and restricting abortion providers from receiving tax credits.
The law also includes a statement that life begins at fertilization. The provision establishes an official state opinion that prohibits direct or indirect support of abortion by the state of Kansas. The provision also means if Roe v Wade were to be overturned, Kansas could argue that abortion is immediately banned in the state based on this law.
The original case was brought by Planned Parenthood on behalf of one of their clinics in Kansas. A second case from two Kansas doctors is currently pending.
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. . . .