California to Challenge "Back-Door" Anti-Abortion Provision
Attorney General Bill Lockyer of California announced yesterday that he will go to court to challenge the constitutionality of an anti-abortion provision signed into law this week by President Bush as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill for 2005. The amendment, misleadingly titled the “Abortion Non-Discrimination Act” and also known as the Federal Refusal Clause, will not only allow health care professionals, hospitals, and health insurance providers to refuse to comply with state laws protecting a woman’s right to an abortion while still accepting state funding, but it will also disallow states from enforcing these laws due to the threat of loss of a wide range of federal funding, even those unrelated to reproductive health, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“This is an unacceptable attack on women’s rights and state sovereignty, and a back-door attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Lockyer said. “With this provision, what the federal government says to California is this: If you want back your own taxpayer dollars for important programs that serve all the people of your state, you first have to refuse to protect the constitutional rights of the women who live in your state. That is wrong, it is unlawful, and I will fight to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
The anti-abortion provision will affect several California state laws, including the state constitutional right to privacy which requires California to remain neutral on the subject of abortion; a law requiring public hospitals and clinics to offer abortions if they also provide prenatal care; Medi-Cal regulations that provide payment for poor women’s abortion services; a law that allows California to withhold state funding from institutions that discourage women from having an abortion; and a law requiring school health clinics to offer abortion counseling and referrals, among others, reports San Francisco Chronicle.
Lockyer’s announcement was endorsed by California Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. Lockyer is thought to be a likely Democratic candidate for California’s 2006 gubernatorial race against current Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, reports Reuters.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .