More than 170 clinics from 14 states and the District of Columbia received threatening letters yesterday containing a white powder. The letters stated, “You have been exposed to anthrax. We are going to kill you. Army of God, Virginia DARE Chapter.” Clinic workers opened envelopes believing that they came from the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshall Service – the return address indicated on the envelopes. Postmarks on the envelopes were marked Atlanta, GA; Knoxville, TN; Chattanooga, TN; or Columbus, OH. County health officials are currently testing the letters’ contents for anthrax spores.
The Army of God (AOG) is a clandestine, violent anti-abortion extremist group who has claimed responsibility for several abortion clinic bombings and arsons across the country, including a 1998 fatal bombing at an abortion clinic in Alabama. AOG has also been implicated in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing as well as the bombing of an abortion clinic and a gay and lesbian nightclub in Atlanta. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) has been monitoring the Army of God since 1982. FMF President Eleanor Smeal declared “We must have a zero tolerance for both domestic and global terrorism. At a time like this, these incidents must be taken seriously.”
The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) makes these anthrax threats a violation of federal law. Margie Moore, Director of Law Enforcement Operations for the FMF’s National Clinic Access Project urged clinic staff who receive these letters, or any other threatening letters, to notify local law enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation immediately.
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. . . .