Alabama’s informed consent law (SB 333) went into effect yesterday, mandating that all women seeking an abortion meet with a health care professional 24-hours prior to the procedure. The state law originally required distribution of state-developed brochures covering information about fetal development, abortion risks, and alternatives to abortion. However, in September, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)—representing six state health clinics and two physicians—requested an injunction, charging that the printed materials “contained numerous inaccuracies and misleading information” unchecked by the Alabama Department of Public Health. US District Judge Harold Albritton stipulated that the Department of Public Health be prohibited from disseminating the materials until he assesses their accuracy. Meanwhile, women must receive information that is “truthful and not misleading.” Only women carrying unviable fetuses are exempt from the new law.
CRLP attorneys argue that the waiting period is unduly burdensome, particularly for women in areas where access to clinics is already difficult. A September press release stated, “Women may have to take additional time off from work, arrange childcare, or even remain away from home overnight or pay for another round trip to the clinic.” The law is especially damaging to women seeking abortions who are victims of rape or incest as information on alimony requirements and adoption services are also required.
According to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, 23 states mandate waiting periods for abortions.
Media Resources: Kaisernetwork.org 10/15/02; CRLP 9/24/02, 9/2002; Associated Press 10/15/02
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. . . .