A federal judge in San Francisco today declared that the abortion procedures ban passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush last year is unconstitutional. In her ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Ashcroft, US District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton barred the enforcement of the law at any of Planned Parenthood’s 900 clinics nationwide, according to Reuters. “The act poses an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose,” wrote Judge Hamilton in her decision, according to the Associated Press.
“Today’s ruling is a landmark victory for medical privacy rights and women’s health,” said Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt. “The Ashcroft Department of Justice can no longer threaten Planned Parenthood doctors with the daunting specter of criminal prosecution for putting their patients first.”
The abortion procedures ban faces two more challenges in federal courts in New York and Nebraska. It is similar to a Nebraska state law that was overturned by a 2000 US Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart because it lacked an exception to protect women’s health.
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. . . .