In a clear victory for women’s reproductive health clinics, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear an appeal by anti-abortion protestors who were claiming that the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) that protects clinics against disruptive intrusions should be interpreted instead to protect those who attempt to obstruct access to clinics. “To construe the FACE Act to protect anti-abortion protestors’ illegal behavior would turn the statute on its head and convert a law intended to shield clinics from hostile attacks into a sword for those who would engage in such attacks,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, in hailing the Court’s decision. The Feminist Majority Foundation provided legal counsel for the clinic involved in the case. On Monday, the Court also refused to hear a challenge to FACE stemming from a New Jersey case involving clinic blockades. FACE has been crucial in curbing anti-abortion violence, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation and its National Clinic Access Project.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation and Aware Woman Center – April 20, 2001
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. . . .