The Arkansas House passed a bill that would ban all abortions past the 16th week of pregnancy in a near-unanimous vote yesterday. Doctors accused of violating the ban could face felony charges punishable with up to 6 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. The law includes an exception for saving the life, but not the health, of a pregnant woman.
The bill will now go to the Arkansas Senate, which is considering a similar bill that does include an exception for protecting the health of the woman. The Senate bill defines the banned procedure using language provided by the National Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
The American Civil Liberties Union's Arkansas chapter is led by Rita Sklar. Sklar believes that the bill passed by the Arkansas House would not stand up in court because it lacks a health exception.
In other abortion rights developments, the Maryland state Sen. Larry Haines (R.) will introduce an abortion ban similar to those offered in Arkansas. Like the bill introduced in the Arkansas House, the Maryland bill does not include an exception for the health of the woman. Gov. Parris Glendening has said that he will not approve this legislation unless such an exception is included.
Media Resources: Kaiser Family Foundation Reproductive Health Report - January 28, 1999
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .