Indiana Supreme Court Expands Medicaid Coverage for Abortions
Last week, Indiana's Supreme Court expanded Medicaid coverage to include abortions for low-income women when the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the woman's health. The 3-2 decision extends previous coverage of abortions, which were formerly only paid for under Medicaid when a woman's life was at risk or when the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The decision settles a lawsuit filed in 1999 by the Clinic for Women in Indianapolis, the Women's Pavilion in South Bend, and two Indiana doctors. The lawsuit contended that the state violated the rights of low-income women, according to Indiana's constitution, Kaisernetwork.org reports. The decision of whether a pregnancy constitutes a "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment" to a woman's health such that an abortion would be covered under Medicaid will be made by doctors, according to the Associated Press.
"While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court did not hold that all medically necessary abortions must be funded, we are gratified that the state of Indiana can no longer deny Medicaid coverage for abortions to low-income women whose health is seriously imperiled by a pregnancy," said Bebe J. Anderson of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), who served as lead counsel in the case, according to a press statement. According to CRR, 13 states have been ordered by state courts to cover all medically necessary abortions under the state's Medicaid program.
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. . . .