Bankruptcy Bill Passes House Without Blocking Anti-Abortion Extremist Loophole
Early this morning, the House passed the Bankruptcy Reform Act, HR 333, a bill that already is bad for consumers and good for big business, without compromise language that would ban anti-abortion extremists from escaping legal judgments by declaring bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported today. The Senate is not expected to pass the bill. They are focusing their attention on passing the homeland security bill before they leave for the year, and Senate Democrats have repeatedly said they will not consider a bill without the abortion language. According to the New York Times, the compromise language, originally introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), had been negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee in July with anti-abortion members such as Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL). The Times went on to report that Sen. Schumer criticized the defeat of his amendment saying, “There is no reason a bill like this can’t pass except for some very extreme people who misread the law.”
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 compromise 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 the 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 not be 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: Associated Press 11/15/02; New York Times 11/15/02; Feminist Daily News 9/13/02
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. . . .