A Florida Appeals Court ruled on Friday that the state could not appoint a guardian for a mentally disabled rape victim's fetus. Justice Emerson R. Thompson wrote that "we find no Florida statute or case law that has determined a fetus to be a person," according to the New York Times.
Last spring, Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) intervened in the case when Florida's circuit court denied requests made by those who wanted to prevent the woman from having an abortion to appoint a guardian for the fetus. The New York Times reports that some see Jeb Bush's intervention as a way to satisfy conservatives and to win support for President Bush's 2004 election.
Abortions rights advocates believe that Jeb Bush's argument that fetuses deserve guardianship is a step towards preventing abortions broadly, reports that Miami Herald. According to Howard Simon, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, "When you set up a guardian for a fetus, you're creating a situation with the mother and the fetus having competing legal rights...there was no masking that this was a crusade to change the law, to limit the rights of women and bring to the Supreme Court something that would overturn Roe v. Wade," reports the New York Times.
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. . . .