Missouri 24-Hour Waiting Period Law Suspended Pending Court Case
A Missouri mandatory delay for abortion services law was suspended last Tuesday pending the outcome of a legal challenge filed by two Planned Parenthood affiliates. The law, which mandates a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, had previously been suspended by US District Judge Scott O. Wright, according to Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. However, an appeals court dissolved the restraining order in late May, allowing the bill to take effect. The Associated Press reports that the most recent suspension of the 24-hour waiting period law was put in place to allow Planned Parenthood to challenge the law’s constitutionality in state court.
The legislation being challenged was enacted last year when Missouri legislators overrode Governor Bob Holden’s veto. The law requires women to sign a consent form 24 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure and requires doctors to inform patients about “physical, psychological or situational risk factors involved in abortions.” In addition, according to the bill, doctors are required to have at minimum $500,000 in medical malpractice insurance.
Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region claims that the mandatory 24-hour waiting period law places an undue burden on women seeking abortions, could have a ‘cruel impact’ on victims of rape, would not decrease the number of abortions, and could pose a threat to the health of women. Current law in Missouri already requires that patients are informed of all options and of the risks inherent in a procedure before it is performed.
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. . . .