Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Again Balk At Bankruptcy Bill
A bill that is bad for consumers and good for big business is once again being held up by abortion politics, the Washington Post reported today. Approval of HR 333 or the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which would make it more difficult for consumers to wipe out their debt, is in jeopardy because of the Schumer-Hatch amendment that would ban anti-abortion extremists from escaping legal judgments by declaring bankruptcy. Earlier this session, the Senate approved a version of the bill with the amendment - first introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) in 2000 - while House approved a version without it. However, a compromise that included the amendment was approved in a House-Senate conference in July. Until, at the last minute, anti-abortion members of Congress refused to agree to the amendment, saying instead that they would bring the issue up for debate this month. With a House vote on the conference version expected yesterday, anti-abortion lawmakers once again pulled the bill from the floor "rather than risk angering Republican abortion opponents in an election season," according to the Post.
Declaring bankruptcy is a strategy that has been attempted by a number of anti-abortion extremists, including six of the defendants in the recently upheld Planned Parenthood v. American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA). These extremists, along with Operation Rescue leaders such as Randall Terry, Joseph Foreman, and Joseph Scheidler, would be held responsible for penalties levied against them if the provision were to be approved by Congress. The Feminist Majority has joined the National Abortion Rights and Action League, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Abortion Federation, the National Women's Law Center, the National Organization for Women as well as many women members of Congress in advocating for Schumer-Hatch Amendment.
The bulk of the bill is viewed as a handout to credit card companies by requiring that more people who file for bankruptcy be not exempted completely from their outstanding debts. In addition, the bill provides for credit card debt to be paid ahead of child support and alimony. The Feminist Majority opposes the overall bill because it favors corporations over low-income families.
Media Resources: Washington Post 9/13/02; Congressional Quarterly 9/5/02; Feminist Daily News 7/29/02
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. . . .