In a 260-161 vote, the House yesterday passed the Child Custody Protection Act (HR 476), which would make it a federal crime for an adult to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion if that adult is not the minor’s parent. The bill had strong support from the GOP but was vehemently opposed by pro-choice forces in the House because it did not offer protections to young girls who might otherwise seek dangerous illegal abortions in the face of parental consent laws. Pro-choice Democrats had offered several amendments to the bill, including one that would have exempted minors pregnant by a parent, guardian, or any household or family member from abiding by the bill’s requirements. This amendment, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), was rejected 16-12 by the House Judiciary Committee last month. Another amendment, introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) that would have allowed grandparents or adult siblings who carried minors across state lines to be exempted, was also rejected by a 16-11 vote in committee.
Nadler has been a vocal opponent of HR 476, saying, “It would also allow a father who raped his daughter to sue anyone who helped her deal with the consequences of his crime, because in the words of this bill, his rights have been violated.” Nadler has also suggested that the bill may violate the principle of federalism. “The question is whether the people of one state should be able to set the policy for people of other states,” said Nadler. “The federal government should not enable one state to hold another state’s citizens hostage.” The fate of the Child Custody Protection Act now rests with the Senate.
Media Resources: CQ Daily Monitor, 4/17/02; Associated Press, 4/17/02; Reuters Health, 3/21/02; Center for Reproductive Law and Policy Press Release, 3/20/02
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. . . .