A suspicious fire broke out a women's health clinic in Palm Beach County, Florida late Friday night. Dale Armstrong, resident agent investigating the fire with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, said that the fire was started purposefully. “It’s a common method: break a window, throw in an accelerant,” Armstrong told the Associated Press. The fire has damaged the roof of the Women’s Care Centers of Florida clinic and blew out all of the windows. “It’s burnt pretty bad,” said city police detective Donna Murphy, according to the Palm Beach Post. One neighborhood resident has reported that he saw a man walking away from the building shortly before the fire trucks arrived, the Post reports.
The clinic, which has been open for two-and-a-half years, has been the target of protests for the past three weeks.
Although severe clinic violence is down from its peak in 1994, "our national clinic violence survey reveals that violence is still threatening our nation's clinics at an intolerable level," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. FMF’s most recent clinic violence survey found that levels of severe violence have slightly increased in the past two years, from 20 percent of clinics experiencing severe violence in 2000 to 23 percent in 2002. FMF's National Clinic Access Project is the largest of its kind in the US, leading efforts to keep women's health clinics open in the face of a war of attrition waged by abortion opponents.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .