Mississippi Clinic Wins - Judge Overturns Restrictive Law
Today, US District Judge Tom Lee threw out a Mississippi law that banned early second trimester abortions at clinics, declaring it unconstitutional. The law would have required women to go to hospitals or surgical facilities to obtain an abortion at any point after 13 weeks. Governor Haley Barbour had pushed the law through the state legislature, and vowed to drive the Jackson Women's Health Clinic, last abortion clinic in the state, out of business. That clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, challenged the law with the help of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Lee, a Republican, overturned the law because of the burden it placed on women exercising their right to choice. Last year, he also blocked enforcement of this law, which would otherwise have gone into effect on July 1, 2004.
Susan Hill, the president of the Women's Health Organization, which owns the clinic, told the Feminist Majority Foundation "we’re thrilled with the ruling – it's a lonely victory for women in Mississippi. We're surprised and happy that a federal judge in Mississippi saw the burden to women in this statute." In the ruling, Judge Lee writes that the measure "had the effect of unduly burdening a woman's right to choose an abortion, and was thus constitutionally infirm."
Mississippi has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation, as well as one of the highest infant-mortality rate and the highest teen birthrate. Women need access to reproductive services, and this ruling ensures that their access will continue. The Jackson Women's Health Organization has faced many challenges, from threats by anti-abortion protestors to punitive restrictions imposed by state lawmakers. The Feminist Majority Foundation is proud to have helped it through these trials, and congratulates the clinic and its advocates on this victory.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .