Court Upholds Buffer Zones Protecting Clinics in Western NY State
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the creation of buffer zones around abortion clinics and reproductive health care facilities in Rochester and Buffalo and upheld a complete ban of anti-abortion protesters from that zone. In the same opinion, the Court decreased the size of the buffer zone around two clinics and struck down a complete ban on sound amplification devices around clinics and reproductive health care facilities. The Court of Appeals returned the case to the district court for more fact-finding regarding sound amplification and the allegations against one defendant. The case is New York v. Operation Rescue National.
In 1992, the district court created a 15 foot buffer zone around certain clinics in response to anti-abortion blockades and allowed two anti-abortion “counselors” to enter the zone and approach patients. In 1999, the district court expanded the buffer zone to all abortion clinics and reproductive health care facilities in Western New York, expanded the actual buffer zones around two clinics, and removed the provision for “counselors.” One of the clinics that benefited from the increased buffer zone of the 1999 injunction is the clinic where Dr. Barnett Slepian practiced. In 1998, Dr. Slepian was assassinated in his home; James Kopp, an anti-abortion extremist awaiting extradition in France, has been indicted for that murder.
Media Resources: New York Law Journal, Rochester News
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. . . .