The Republican-controlled Florida legislature on Friday garnered the three-fifths majority necessary to place a proposed constitutional amendment restricting abortion access for young women on the ballot this November. In what the Orlando Sentinel calls a "politically charged measure," the amendment would require that female minors under the age of 18 seek parental consent before obtaining an abortion.
The measure, a top priority for the state's Republican Party and for Governor Jeb Bush, was pushed through at 11 p.m. on the last day of the congressional session. Its placement on the ballot in November could help persuade hard-line conservatives to get themselves to the polls on election day and in turn cast a vote for President Bush, according to the Sentinel. The Florida Senate passed the measure with a judicial waver, ensuring that a judge can make exceptions on a case-by-case basis, particularly in the event of rape or incest. The Florida House opposed such exceptions.
This is the third time Florida's legislature has attempted to restrict abortion access for minors. In 1989, and again in 2003, the Florida Supreme Court found laws requiring parental notification unlawful. Requiring a young woman to inform her parents of her reproductive choice, according to the ruling of the justices, "imposes a direct and significant intrusion on a pregnant minor's right to privacy," according to Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report. The ruling continued, saying that the Florida constitution gives citizens "the right to be let alone and free from government intrusion," Kaiser reports.
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. . . .