Iowa Supreme Court Grants Stay for Required Disclosure of Pregnancy Tests
The Iowa Supreme Court granted a stay to Planned Parenthood this week, temporarily suspending a requirement that Planned Parenthood’s Storm Lake Clinic turn over the names and addresses of all women who had a positive pregnancy test between August 15, 2001 and May 30, 2002. The state Supreme Court granted the stay in order to give time to further study the matter.
“Wholesale release of these medical records would not only violate Americans’ sacred trust in medical privacy, but will - as we are already seeing happen at the affected clinic in Iowa - deter women from seeking necessary medical care,” Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said in a prepared statement. “We’re confident that upon review, the Court will recognize this egregious violation of women’s right to medical privacy and will act to protect that right.”
Last month, Iowa District Judge Frank Nelson had ordered the information be turned over to law enforcement authorities by August 17, to aid officials in the investigation of a dead newborn baby boy found at a recycling center in May. Planned Parenthood filed an appeal last week, arguing that the private medical information cannot be released without consent. Despite Nelson’s decision, Jill June, head of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa, has adamantly refused to hand over the records and could face contempt of court charges – which could result in six months imprisonment or a $500 fine.
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. . . .