Mississippi Senate Seeks to Negotiate Abortion Ban
The abortion ban passed recently by the Mississippi House of Representatives is now before the Senate, which voted yesterday to begin negotiating changes to the bill so that it would not invalidate existing abortion provisions. Senate Public Health and Welfare Chairman Alan Nunnelee (R) told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, "This outright ban has been put right in the middle of Mississippi's informed consent statute. There's very high likelihood that the two items would be challenged in court," possibly leading to a court striking down the entire law.
The bill in question began as a requirement that women be given the option of seeing a sonogram before having an abortion, and the House added the language that would ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and protecting a woman’s health. House Public Health and Human Services Chairman Steve Holland (D), who proposed the ban, is less interested in negotiating with the Senate. "If the issue is left up to moi, there won't be another vote on that issue in the House this year or as long as I serve as chairman of the Public Health and Human Services Committee," Holland said, according to the Associated Press. "It is over. Sayonara. Out of here."
“Mississippi has been extremely punitive to women’s rights in a lot of different ways, so this amendment is in keeping with this tradition,” said Susan Hill, president of the National Women’s Health Organization, which owns the sole abortion clinic in Mississippi. “But we’re not going anywhere — we’re going to fight this until the bitter end.”
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. . . .