Australian Legislators Fight Deceptive Pregnancy Counseling Centers
Legislators in Australia are working to pass a bill that would require pregnancy counseling centers to make their positions on abortion clear in order to not mislead women seeking abortions. A government report released earlier this month found that some pregnancy centers are giving women false information about the risks of abortion, or telling women they are “sinful” if they have an abortion, according to Australia’s News.com. In one such case, a father of a raped daughter called a pregnancy counseling hotline looking for an abortion clinic and was told that he was “ ‘nothing but a bloody murderer’,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The bill, introduced by Democrats Senator Natasha Scott Despoja, is reminiscent of US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s “Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services” Act, which, like its Australian counterpart, seeks to require pregnancy centers to comply with trade and commerce rules prohibiting false advertising, according to the Courier-Mail.
Meanwhile, the Australian legislature is considering a $50 million bill that would create a Pregnancy Hotline and a Medicare rebate for pregnancy-related counseling after Health Minister Tony Abbott said that the abortion rate in Australia too high, the Courier-Mail reports. Abbott earlier this year vetoed the use of RU-486 for early medical abortions, a decision that was overruled by the Australian legislature.
The Australian Medical Association has expressed concern that the Medicare rebate plan does not protect women’s privacy – under the bill, pregnancy counseling would be assigned a specific number that would be visible not only to doctors but to anyone who would see the Medicare account, such as payment processors and pharmacists, the News.com reports. Lack of privacy is already causing young women seeking abortions to travel far outside of their local towns to access abortion services in Melbourne, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Media Resources: Courier-Mail 8/27/06; Australian Broadcasting Corporation 8/17/06, 8/14/06; News.com 8/10/06, 8/2/06
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .