The federal Hyde Amendment bans Medicaid coverage of most abortions, leaving low-income women without access to abortion care unless the state they live in provides its own coverage. In the Northwest, Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington all provide Medicaid funding for abortion care. Recently, however, Alaska's policies have come under siege from anti-choice politicians.
In 2013, the Alaska Department of Health adopted a regulation so restrictive that it would prevent
Today, the United States Supreme Court vindicated our 11 years of advocacy for Washington patients by refusing to hear Stormans v. Wiesman, in which an Olympia-based pharmacy and two pharmacists alleged that the Washington State rule requiring all pharmacies to fill lawful prescriptions was unconstitutional. The Court’s refusal to hear this case affirms the Ninth Circuit decision protecting patients’ rights to timely access to prescriptions—including emergency contraception—r
This morning, the United States Supreme Court overturned Texas' HB2, a sweeping anti-abortion bill passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013. This means Texas abortion clinics will remain open and can continue to provide safe and legal abortion care! This case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, was part of a disturbing trend in state legislatures across the country: passing restrictive abortion laws masquerading as measures to protect women's health. But the justices in the
When certain U.S. Senators first started murmuring about refusing to vote for any nominee that President Obama nominated to fill the late Justice Scalia's Supreme Court seat, the public responded with a rallying cry: do your job. We agree wholeheartedly. But this "do your job" sentiment isn't new to us. Back in 2007, Washington's pharmacy rules that ensure patients have timely access to medication went into effect. Shortly thereafter, Stormans Inc. and two pharmacists sued th
Today, Legal Voice joined the National Women’s Law Center and 67 other organizations in filing a “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the latest round of cases attacking the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate. Seven different challenges from objecting employers have been consolidated into one case, Zubik v. Burwell. The consolidated cases challenge the Affordable Care Act’s provisions requiring that insurance plans cover contraceptives wi
This spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case in a decade. In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly Whole Woman's Health v. Cole), the Court will decide whether Texas' latest abortion restrictions are an "undue burden" on the constitutional right to have an abortion. If upheld, Texas' restrictions will result in the closure of almost every abortion clinic in the state. Legal Voice has submitted an amicus brief—joined by 32 of the nation’s leadi
Legal Voice has long advocated against criminalizing women for their pregnancy outcomes. There is no place in the criminal legal system for policing and punishing pregnant people’s health conditions, such as substance use disorders, or what happens at an unattended birth. Legal Voice recently submitted an amicus brief with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, the ACLU of Washington, and the Birth Rights Bar Association on behalf of Melissa McMillen, a Washington woman who g
Are you a current 3L or a recent law school graduate? Fired up about social justice issues like immigration, LGBTQ rights, and racial justice, and how they intersect with reproductive rights?
Looking to get hands on training in state law and policy? Interested in working with Legal Voice staff members for a whole year?? We invite you to submit an application for the Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) 2016-17 Reproductive Justice Fellowship Program (RJFP). The RJFP
Last summer, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the U.S. Supreme Court granted companies the right to disregard federal laws to which the companies' owners have religious objections. The ruling—which specifically allowed companies to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate—was outrageous and damaging to women and LGBTQ people. Immediately after the decision came down, Legal Voice and our partners in The Alliance: State Advocates for Women's Rights & Gender E
Today, Legal Voice and 14 allied national and statewide organizations joined together to submit a letter to Governor Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Secretary of Health John Wiesman, denouncing requests for harassing and unwarranted investigations into Planned Parenthood's operations and funding. The letter comes in response to a smear campaign by anti-abortion extremists—in which a series of highly edited videos are being used to vilify trusted health care pro
Today, a decade after Washington’s pharmacy rulemaking process began, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Washington pharmacies must dispense all legal medications to patients on site, without discrimination or delay. The Court’s unanimous decision in Stormans Inc. v. Wiesman—in which an Olympia-based pharmacy and two of its pharmacists challenged the pharmacy rules, asserting that filling prescriptions for emergency contraception violated their religi
Legal Voice is thrilled to report that today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down several provisions of Idaho's abortion statute as unconstitutional. We filed a friend of the court brief supporting both Jennie Linn McCormack, who was arrested and prosecuted for inducing her own abortion, and a physician who joined the lawsuit challenging the statute. The provisions in McCormack v. Herzog included a ban on abortions after 20 weeks; a requirement that second-trimeste
Today, Legal Voice joined National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) and 98 other reproductive justice, drug policy reform, women’s rights, and civil liberties organizations in filing an amicus brief in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Lacy Weld. Ms. Weld pled guilty to the crime of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, but was given an enhanced sentence of an additional six years in federal prison because she was pregnant at the time she committed the
Today, Legal Voice joined the National Abortion Federation, the Center for American Progress, and 84 other pro-choice organizations in signing a letter to President Obama urging him to remove restrictions on abortion services and coverage in his budget for the 2016 fiscal year. The letter specifically requests that the budget not include the Hyde Amendment, a rider law that has been included in every annual budget since its inception in 1976. The Hyde Amendment prohibits abor
After nearly a decade, our case involving pharmacists' refusal to fill contraception prescriptions, Stormans v. Wiesman (formerly Stormans v. Selecky), is finally being heard on its merits before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Tomorrow, we will defend the rules requiring pharmacies to fill legal prescriptions without discrimination and without delay. At stake is more than just Washington's pharmacy rules, but potentially the rights of corporations to evade compliance wit
Today, Legal Voice—in coalition with National Advocates for Pregnant Women and 46 other reproductive justice, drug policy reform, women’s rights, and civil liberties organizations—sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to renounce enhanced criminal penalties for women on the basis of pregnancy. The letter stems from a case in which Lacey Weld pled guilty to the crime of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, but was given a
Today, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution calling on federal lawmakers to repeal all bans on public insurance coverage of abortion, including the Hyde Amendment. This makes Seattle the sixth jurisdiction in the country—and first in the Northwest—to declare its support for repealing the Hyde Amendment and restoring access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for every woman. The Hyde Amendment, adopted in 1976, prohibits abortion coverage throu
We are extremely disappointed that today, the United States Supreme Court has given employers license to disregard an important requirement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—that private insurance plans cover contraceptives without a co-pay. Today's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. allows employers to assert religious objections to opt out of providing this coverage, thus allowing them to stand between women and the essential health care they deserve.