Testimony in NOW vs. Scheidler continued as anti-abortion leaders admitted that they were involved in blockades and activities intended to close down the clinics. Tim Murphy and Andrew Scholberg, former employees of the Pro-Life Action League, testified that they were present at annual meetings with Joseph Scheidler and that they planned blockades and training sessions.
Judge David Coar denied the defendants’ request to show a video of former Operation Rescue leader Randall Terry preaching on the “evils of abortion.”
Judge Coar asked plaintiffs to testify and describe the costs to the clinics for “specific acts” by the anti-abortion groups. Testimony was given by Susan Hill, president of the National Women’s Health Organization and owner of an abortion clinic in Wilmington, Delaware. Hill said that the clinic hired armed guards, installed metal detectors and 24-hour surveillance monitors and hired a locksmith to unplug locks that were filled with glue by anti-abortion extremists.
NOW attorneys claim that the blockades were in violation of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organization Act. Attorney Kerry Miller said, “Blockading is extortion. It’s the use of fear and force to prevent someone from exercising their rights.”
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. . . .