Feminist Majority Denounces the Passage of H.R. 7 in the House
The Feminist Majority decries the passage of a dangerous and extreme abortion coverage ban by the U.S. House of Representatives - the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," H.R. 7. Republicans passed H.R. 7 by a vote of 227-188 with 221 Republicans voting for the anti-abortion bill and 187 Democrats voting against.
Although H.R. 7 purports to prevent taxpayer funding for abortion, the bill actually prevents women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care.
"H.R. 7 is a blatant attack on women's reproductive rights and an attempt to take away a woman's ability to make personal health care decisions, including decisions about abortion," said Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal. "This bill flatly puts women's health at risk by dramatically restricting access to abortion coverage."
H.R. 7 would eliminate tax credits available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for women and families who purchase insurance plans that include abortion coverage through the newly created health insurance marketplaces. It would also force private multi-state insurance plans that participate in the marketplaces to stop providing abortion coverage and withhold the Small Business Tax Credit to those businesses that offer comprehensive health insurance - which includes abortion - to their employees.
"The Affordable Care Act banned health insurance companies from discriminating against women and increased the ability of all Americans to access quality healthcare by extending financial assistance to low- and moderate-income families and individuals," said Smeal. "But H.R. 7 especially and unfairly targets millions of women by placing comprehensive healthcare out of reach. This attack on women's health care must end."
In particular for women living in the District of Columbia, H.R. 7 is an extreme piece of legislation. The bill would prevent the District from using its own, locally-raised funds on abortion care for women struggling to make ends meet. These women should not be held hostage to Congress's radical anti-choice agenda.
"Instead of focusing on securing women's economic security and extending unemployment benefits to the millions of long-term jobless in this country, House Republicans have decided to re-launch an assault on women's health and rights, and in the process, threaten the economic well-being of women and their families," said Smeal.
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. . . .