Florida Judge Refuses To Appoint Guardian for Fetus
Stating there is no legal basis for such a request, Florida judge refused Governor Jeb Bush's plea that the state appoint a guardian for the fetus of a severely disabled woman who became pregnant after being raped in state custody. Despite this ruling, Bush plans to appeal the decision in a loosely veiled attempt to undermine abortion rights by granting legal personhood to a fetus. "If a mom who is pregnant can't make decisions for herself, she would have a guardian, and the unborn child should have a guardian as well," Bush said according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The woman, who is 22 years old, has the mental capacity of an infant and has been in state custody all of her life, was only just appointed a guardian by the state today. "She isn't aware she is pregnant," Rod Taylor, court-appointed attorney for the woman who is known only as J.D.S. told the Associated Press. With advice from doctors, her new guardian will be able to decide whether her pregnancy – now approaching the third trimester - should be terminated, according to the AP.
In another case involving a severely disabled Florida woman who became pregnant after being raped in state custody, the woman identified as Zenobia Henderson underwent an abortion late last week. Florida Circuit Court Judge Arthur Rothenberg authorized doctors to go ahead with the procedure despite repeated legal maneuverings by Liberty Counsel, a Florida anti-abortion group. Their legal efforts were "frivolous, nonsensical and without any legal basis," said Lance Block, an attorney representing the Henderson’s mother, who has repeatedly asked the judge to authorize the procedure, according to AP. Henderson, who is 28 years old and has the cognitive skills of a 4-year-old, is known to have extensive medical ailments which make pregnancy increasingly life threatening for her as it progresses. In addition, doctors have said that the fetus had a 10 percent chance of survival because of medications the woman takes, according to Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report.
Media Resources: Associated Press 6/3/03, 5/31/03; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 6/2/03, 5/30/03; Orlando Sentinel 5/30/03
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. . . .