The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy filed lawsuits against the states of Indiana and Arkansas Monday in an effort to force state-funding for abortions that are deemed medically necessary. CRLP is representing two clinics and two doctors in the Indiana suit, and eight Phoenix and Tucson health care providers in the Arizona suit.
Indiana currently banned the use of state funds for all abortions except those deemed necessary to save a woman's life or those induced by rape or incest. The lawsuit charges that Indiana's state constitution guarantees equal protection under the law for all persons by discriminating against women who suffer from conditions like hypertension, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. "The funding ban forces physicians in Indiana who treat low-income pregnant women with these and other health problems to deny these women abortions, to perform medically indicated abortions for free or very-low cost ... or to wait, closely monitoring the patient's health, until she delivers or the pregnancy becomes life-threatening so that an abortion is reimbursable," read court documents.
The Arizona suit argues that while the state "fully funds child-birth related costs, it routinely denies abortions to women with pre-existing health conditions." As does the state of Indiana, Arizona uses funds to covers the cost of abortions only when the pregnancy is life-threatening, or in cases of rape or incest.
CRLP attorney Bebe Anderson explained, "Some low-income women need abortions in order to prevent damage to their health. Sadly, Arizona denies needy women in these circumstances funding for medically necessary abortions ... This discriminatory treatment harms low-income women's health and infringes upon their constitutional rights"
Currently, 18 states fund abortions for low-income women who undergo them for health reasons, 13 of which are doing so only because court orders force them to.
Media Resources: Kaiser Family Foundation and Indianapolis Star - August 17, 1999
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. . . .