South Dakota's Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would outlaw abortion in the state if a woman's right to choose was no longer protected by the federal government. The bill, known as a “trigger statute” and sponsored by state Representative Joel Dykstra (R), would not offer exceptions for rape or incest or for the health of the woman, but only for the life of the woman, the Associated Press reports. The bill would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison.
An attempt to amend the bill to protect the health of the mother was voted down 45-25. Similarly, an attempt to make abortion legal in the event of rape or incest also failed, 46-24. According to the Associated Press, Representative Elizabeth Kraus (R) compared being raped to having an abortion, saying that “In a sexual rape, a woman is robbed of her purity. In this medical rape, she is robbed of her maternity.”
The South Dakota legislature has also recently considered two other anti-choice bills. On Monday, a bill that would ban abortion unless the woman’s life was in danger died in the state Senate’s State Affairs committee by a vote of 7-2. The other bill, which was approved by a Senate committee on Monday, would require parental notification within 24 hours of a minor having an emergency abortion, unless the minor could obtain a court order permitting confidentiality, the Associated Press reports. Under the current law, parental notification is not required for emergency abortions.
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. . . .