Women’s Rights Leaders Mark The Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
On the 29th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, women’s right leaders celebrated reproductive choice, but expressed grave concern over the fate of abortion access in the U.S. The Core Choice Coalition, including the Feminist Majority, Planned Parenthood, National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, National Women’s Law Center, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, National Organization for Women, National Abortion Federation, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Black Women’s Health Project, and more, highlighted the impending threat to Roe in the federal Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Roe is more endangered today than it ever has been in its 29-year history,” said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. “The fate of abortion rights for the next 25 years hinges not only on the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominated by President Bush, but also on his appointees to the federal Courts of Appeals. With Justices expected to step down in the near future, we insist that the U.S. Senate filibuster any federal judicial nominations that stand opposed to abortion rights.”
Abortion rights currently hang by a razor thin 5-4 split in the U.S. Supreme Court. The federal Courts of Appeals are not much better. Eight out of twelve Circuit Courts have anti-choice majorities. “If we should lose the majority on all of the federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court is almost a moot point,” said Smeal. Disagreement between the Circuit Courts is often the reason for a case to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
President Bush is an ardent anti-choice supporter. During his term as President, he has reinstated the global gag rule, held up international family planning funds to the UNFPA, and facing the anniversary of Roe, declared Sunday “National Sanctity of Life Day.” Though the President asked the nation to "reflect upon the sanctity of human life,” and "the notion that some lives are less worthy of protection than others," he possibly failed to reflect on the more than 80,000 women who die annually from botched, illegal abortion worldwide.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Reports, 1/22/02
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. . . .