Tuscaloosa, AL Abortion Clinic is the 13th Arson/Bombing of 1997
Highest Rate of Anti-abortion Violence Since 1984
The July 22nd arson of the West Alabama Women's Center clinic in Tuscaloosa, AL marks the 13th abortion clinic arson or bombing of 1997 -- the highest rate of anti-abortion violence since 1984. The Tuscaloosa clinic sustained massive damage, estimated at $100,000, due to the early morning fire. The clinic has been plagued in the past by threats of clinic violence.
Alarmed by the resurgent wave of abortion clinic arsons and bombings, Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal called for the Tuscaloosa arson to be immediately classified as an incident of "domestic terrorism," and for more federal law enforcement investigative resources to prevent further losses like in Tuscaloosa, and earlier this year in Atlanta, Georgia, Oregon, North Carolina, Northern Virginia, Oklahoma, California, and Montana. "These incidents of violence must not be examined in isolation, but as part of a larger pattern of terror and violence against women's health clinics," continued Smeal. "More investigative resources are needed to determine whether the double bombings in Atlanta claimed by the "Army of God", and the string of arsons across the country since, are connected."
Federal law enforcement officials have issued an alert to clinics throughout the region to increase security measures in the wake of the Tuscaloosa fire. Clinics are urged to take all precautions to safeguard against further arson attacks.
"Every month, women's health clinics are lost or temporarily closed because of anti-abortion violence," continued Smeal. "These clinics -- like the clinic in Tuscaloosa -- often provide not only abortion, but also provide birth control, cancer screening, and general gynecological healthcare services to women. The loss of these clinics harms the availability of reproductive health care for the women who depend on them."
A survey released earlier this year by the Feminist Majority Foundation, reveals that 27.6% of clinics faced severe anti-abortion violence in 1996, including death threats, stalking, bombings, arsons, blockades, invasions and chemical attacks. When gunfire, home picketing, and vandalism are included, the number of clinics and offices experiencing some form of violence, harassment or intimidation rises to 44.9%.
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. . . .