South Dakota Legislature Passes Bill Banning Nearly All Abortions
The South Dakota Senate yesterday approved (23-12) a bill that would make it a felony for doctors to perform any abortions in the state except those necessary to save the life of the woman. The state House overwhelmingly passed the bill earlier this month. Because the Senate slightly changed the wording of the bill, the House must approve the new language, and the bill will then go to anti-choice Governor Mike Rounds (R) to become law.
Gov. Rounds vetoed a similar bill in 2004 because of concerns that legal challenges to the bill could weaken or eliminate existing state abortion restrictions, but he said in 2005 that he would feel “morally obligated” to sign such a bill banning abortion into law.
If signed into law, the bill is expected to face immediate legal challenges. According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, an anonymous donor has already pledged $1 million to help defray South Dakota’s legal expenses in defending the law.
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. . . .