The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a claim that anti-abortion activists have a legal right to provide “sidewalk counseling” outside women’s reproductive health clinics. The Appeals Court determined that the plaintiffs failed to show a FACE violation. Plaintiffs argued that their “counseling” activities were protected under the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Attorney for the Defendants Michael Spotts called the claim “ridiculous” saying that the plaintiffs were changing the intent of FACE to legally harass women. The FACE Act, passed in 1994, is intended to protect clinics and women seeking abortions by prohibiting anti-abortion protestors from blocking abortion clinic entrances or injuring or intimidating staff or patients at abortion clinics. The case is Lotierzo, et al. v. A Woman’s World, et al.
In 1999, the anti-choice Pregnancy Care Center opened across the street from A Woman’s World Clinic in Fort Pierce, Florida. Thomas J. Euteneuer, one of the plaintiffs in Lotierzo, et al. v. A Woman’s World, et al. and now the President of Human Life International, was on the board of directors. Volunteers from the Pregnancy Care Center would approach women on the sidewalks and access way to A Woman’s World to promote their anti-abortion agenda, causing many altercations.
In the same opinion, however, the Eleventh Circuit allowed Euteneur to proceed with a lawsuit in which he claims that a clinic staff member, Hazel Harding, threatened his life. Euteneur alleges that Harding made the threat in order to intimidate him from performing anti-abortion activities.
Media Resources: Miami Herald, 1/9/02; MSNBC.com, 1/8/02; Eleventh Circuit Court Opinion, Lotierzo, et al. v. A Woman’s World, et al.; Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .