Abortion providers in Virginia will appear today in a Richmond, VA appeals court to challenge the constitutionality of a parental consent law which took effect July 1, 1997. According to statistics from the Virginia health department and abortion clinics show that teenage girls received 20 percent fewer abortions in Virginia since the law took effect, but opponents of the law believe that the young women traveled to Washington, DC, for the abortions, rather than face parents who may not support their decisions.
Abortion clinic and hot line employees report a dramatic increase in calls concerning how to get around the parental consent law. Amy Schriefer, a hot-line operator at the National Abortion Federation, said “it’s definitely a hot spot there .... Before, I never got calls from Virginia asking about D.C. and whether they had a parental law. But now, we get maybe seven to 10 calls a day, mostly from central and southern Virginia. They’re mostly desperate. They’re panicked,” said Schriefer.
Many clinics are also reporting out-of-state teens coming in with advanced stages of pregnancy, due to lapsed time while trying to figure out how to obtain an abortion without telling their parents.
Twenty-nine states have passed laws requiring parental consent or notification before a teenager can obtain an abortion. Simon Heller, a lawyer with the pro-choice group Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in New York, said “It just means that the Virginia General Assembly has accomplished its true purpose, which is not to benefit young women but to stop them from getting abortions in Virginia.”
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. . . .