Governor Breaks Promise and Alters Abortion Policy in Alaska
Governor Frank Murkowski (R) of Alaska broke an election-year promise made in 2002 when he signed a bill into law affecting abortion policy last week. The “informed consent” law will require women to certify in writing that they have received all the information concerning abortion that will be posted on a new website to be created by the state. The governor appealed to pro-choice Republican women in his state during his campaign two years ago for their support with a pledge that he would not seek to change the abortion policy in Alaska, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
The "objective and unbiased" website described in state Senate Bill 30 will include information about fetal development, photos of the typical "unborn child" at various stages of pregnancy, and possible risks and complications of the abortion procedure, specifically physical and psychological effects. The site will also provide information about medical assistance benefits, child support orders, and several methods of contraception, Kaisernetwork.org reports. Finally, the bill requires doctors to inform a woman seeking an abortion exactly what the gestational age of the fetus is. All of these requirements can be waived if the pregnancy was the result of rape or sexual abuse, or if the woman's health is at risk.
Planned Parenthood of Alaska stated in a press release last week that all medical procedures require "informed consent" by law. Planned Parenthood continued, saying that the bill is meant to shame the women of Alaska who are exercising their right to an abortion, the Associated Press 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. . . .