Anti-Choice Group Challenges Pittsburgh Clinic Ordinance
An anti-abortion group known as the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit this week challenging Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's law requiring a 15-foot buffer zone around clinics. The ordinance was passed in December, and prohibits protestors from coming within 15 feet of a clinic or within eight feet of an individual patient. Violators would be fined for their first three offenses, and could face 30-day imprisonment for subsequent violations. Alliance Defense Fund is suing on behalf of a woman who alleges “viewpoint discrimination,” saying she was threatened with arrest when she approached a patient, but was allowed to distribute anti-pornography material near the clinic without threat of arrest.
Susan Frietsche, senior staff attorney for the Women's Law Project, described the suit as "an attempt by outsiders to attack a law that is really working well for the citizens of Pittsburgh," reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Claire Keyes, director of the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center agreed the law was effective, telling the Post-Gazette, "It certainly has helped. We are not getting nearly as many complaints from patients that they are being grabbed or leaflets shoved in their pockets."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .