Colorado Governor Vetoes Emergency Contraception Bill
Colorado Governor Bill Owens (R) vetoed a bill on Tuesday that would have required all hospitals to inform rape victims about emergency contraception. Owens, a Roman Catholic, claimed that the bill would have forced church-backed institutions to violate their own ethics guidelines, reports the Associated Press. The bill, HB 1042, which passed 46-19 and 22-13 in the state House and Senate, respectively, would have allowed individual health care workers with moral or religious objections to refrain from informing women about emergency contraception (EC), but would have required them to refer patients to another health professional who would discuss contraception options, reports the Kaiser Network. State Representative Terrance Carroll (D) argued that Owens had misconstrued the legislation’s intent. “This was not about abortion, it was not about freedom, it was about women who were raped,” reports TheDenverChannel.com.
Lawmakers tried to attach an amendment to exclude Catholic hospitals, but the bill’s sponsors, Representative Betty Boyd (D-CO) and Senator Jennifer Veiga (D-CO), refused, according to the Rocky Mountain News. Boyd and Veiga pointed out that rape victims do not always have a choice about where they go for treatment.
Republican supporters of the bill argued that studies have shown 50 percent of women who are raped and become pregnant have an abortion, reports the Rocky Mountain News. EC, which can be taken up to five days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy, would presumably lower these statistics. “This bill was about providing compassionate care to women who have been sexually assaulted,” said Beth Ganz, head of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado. “The governor clearly put politics ahead of women’s health and lives,” reports Rocky Mountain News.
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. . . .