Global “Gag Rule” Will Increase Deaths; Boxer and Lowey Propose Policy Reversal
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) yesterday announced their plan to introduce legislation reversing Bush’s policy, and have already garnered the support of several pro-family planning Republican legislators. Tens of thousands of women in developing nations will die each year as a result of George W. Bush’s first executive order reinstating the Reagan/Bush Sr. policy that bars family planning programs outside the U.S. that receive federal aid from using separate, private monies for abortion counseling.
Programs that provide a wide range of resources, including gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraception, will be forced to lose a large percentage of their operating costs, or to discontinue services formerly paid for by private dollars. With no other option, young women in developing nations will again turn to illegal abortions, too many of them dying as a result of serious infections. “This is going to affect 13, 14, 15 year-old girls in developing nations,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “These girls will face death from botched, illegal abortion as well as the brutal treatment inflicted on unmarried, pregnant women in many countries: acid attacks, beatings, and death.”
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. . . .