Groups Granted Motion in Mentally Disabled FL Rape Case
In what is becoming an increasingly moot point for the severely disabled, pregnant 22-year-old woman who was raped while in state custody and due to give birth later this month, Florida's 5th District Court of Appeals last week granted an emergency motion, giving abortion-rights and civil rights groups "friends of the court" status in an appeal involving Jennifer Wixtrom, who seeks guardianship of the woman's fetus and the state Department of Children and Families (DCF). Last June, Orange County, Florida, Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Kirkwood appointed a guardian for the woman (known as J.D.S.) but denied Governor Jeb Bush’s (R) request to appoint a guardian for the fetus. Stating that state law offered no basis for such an appointment and that a 1989 Florida Supreme Court ruling deemed the appointment of a fetal guardian "clearly improper," Kirkwood also rejected Wixtrom’s request for guardianship. Wixtrom filed an appeal, with the DCF supporting her position, in the case misleadingly termed Wixtrom vs. DCF, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Under the latest court order, the abortion-rights groups and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Florida National Organization for Women will now have an opportunity to present an adversarial position. Pro-choice advocates say the case is yet another loosely veiled attempt to undermine abortion rights by granting legal personhood to a fetus.
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. . . .