NOW To Continue Court Battle Against Operation Rescue
In a landmark decision Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Coar in Chicago held that the evidence against Operation Rescue and other anti-abortion extremists on racketeering charges aimed at closing that clinic was enough to continue to a jury trial.
NOW filed the class-action lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). NOW President Patricia Ireland said "the court has said that Randall Terry and his co-conspirators will be held responsible for all the acts of terrorism and violence Pro-Life Action Network (PLAN) has orchestrated in their war to deny women our constitutional right to abortion."
Judge Coar ruled that NOW provided sufficient evidence that Operation Rescue and PLAN had forced "the closing of clinics through the use of fear," actions that fall under RICO.
Terry and co-defendant Joseph Scheidler called RICO unconstitutional, claiming they had a "moral imperative" to stop abortion by violating the law. The NOW vs. Scheidler case was initiated in 1986 by then NOW President Eleanor Smeal, when the president of the local Pensacola NOW chapter was injured during a clinic invasion by John Brut, a leader of the local Rescue America.
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. . . .