SD Abortion Ban Lobby Received $750,000 in Questionable Funds
On the eve of Tuesdayís election, news has broken that Vote Yes for Life, the group trying to pass a sweeping abortion ban in South Dakota, may have received an illegal donation of $750,000 -- the largest single amount received by either side of the South Dakota abortion ban debate. The disputed money came from Promising Futures, Inc., a company set up by the banís author and sponsor, State Representative Roger Hunt, to collect donations for Vote Yes. Promising Futures disclosed the $750,000 donation three days after the October 31 deadline and failed to include the original donorís name. Both late filing and anonymous donations over $100 violate state law, South Dakota's Secretary of State told the Argus Leader Saturday.
The Argus Leader has demanded that Hunt reveal the original donor's name, blasting the representative for "hiding behind what he admits is a sham corporation." The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, the primary organization mobilizing voters against the ban, has called for an expedited investigation by the attorney general and has formally asked Vote Yes for Life to return the money.
"This is yet another example of the continued campaign of dishonesty coming out of the Vote Yes camp," said Healthy Families Co-Chair Jan Nicolay in an official statement. "They lied about the lack of exceptions for rape and incest victims... for the womanís health and for fetal anomalies... Itís no surprise that the Vote Yes for Life Campaign would fudge their numbers, too."
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. . . .