SD: Governor Signs into Law the Nation's Toughest Anti-Abortion Bills
Governor Michael Rounds (R) signed four of the nation's toughest anti-abortion bills into law last week that will drastically restrict a woman's right to choose in South Dakota. The first requires doctors to inform women who seek an abortion that they will be terminating the life of “a whole, separate, unique, living human being” with which the woman has “an existing relationship” that is protected by the US Constitution and the laws of South Dakota, the National Post reports.
Another law signed by Rounds would outlaw abortion in the state if the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and 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 bill would make performing an abortion a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison.
Shortly after signing the trigger statute, Rounds discovered that through sloppy wording, the law inadvertently ended the state’s ability to even regulate abortion until such time as Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the Associate Press, which individual states are currently allowed to do. Emergency legislation to fix the flaw was introduced earlier this week and passed with little discussion or debate, just in time before the state’s legislative session ends.
The third bill signed by the governor would require parental notification within 24 hours of a minor having an emergency abortion, unless the minor could obtain a court order permitting confidentiality. Under the current law, parental notification is not required for emergency abortions. The final bill signed creates a state task force intended to study the history of abortion since it became a constitutionally protected right in 1973.
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. . . .