Alito Memorandum Demonstrates Hostility to Women's Reproductive Rights
Unquestionable evidence of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's efforts to undercut women's reproductive rights surfaced yesterday in a memorandum he wrote while serving in the Reagan Justice Department. In his 1985 memorandum (PDF) to the solicitor general, Alito advised against “a frontal assault” on Roe v. Wade that could result in rulings affirming the decision. Instead he mapped out a strategy to undermine Roe to provide “greater recognition of the states’ interest in protecting the unborn throughout pregnancy” that would also not even “tacitly concede Roe’s legitimacy.” The memorandum belies Alito’s recent attempts to distance himself from statements in his 1985 job application to become assistant attorney general when he wrote that he was “particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that ... the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.”
Alito even used language blurring the distinction between abortion and birth control He posed the extraordinary and shocking question: “What, for example is the objection to informing a woman that certain methods of birth control are ‘abortiafacients,’ i.e., that they do not prevent fertilization but terminate the development of the fetus after conception?” as he advocated for state regulations requiring women seeking an abortion be given information including adoption opportunities, fetal development and the possibility of “unforeseeable detrimental effects” of the procedure.
“This latest revelation shows not only abortion but even some forms of birth control may be in jeopardy with an Alito appointment,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Will he develop a slippery slope for the more effective forms of birth control?”
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. . . .