There will be at least 85 voting women members of the Congress in January 2011: at least 70 members of the House plus three nonvoting delegates and at least 15 senators. Four House races with women candidates are still too close to call as are two Senate races with women candidates (Senator Patty Murray and Senator Lisa Murkowski). If women win all the remaining races, there will be neither a gain nor a loss in the percentage of women members in Congress. If they lose, there will be a one and a half percent loss.
Eight Republican women newcomers won in the House -- one is a woman of color. They include Martha Roby (AL-2); Sandy Adams (FL-24); Vicky Hartzler (MO-4); Nan Hayworth (NY-19); Renee Ellmers (NC-2); Christy Noem (SD-AL); Diane Black (TN-6); Jaime Herrera (WA-3). No Republican incumbents lost in the House.
Four Democratic women newcomers won in the House -- all four were women of color. In total, nine Democratic women House Members lost: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1); Betsy Markey (CO-4); Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24); Debbie Halvorson (IL-11); Dina Titus (NV-3); Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1); Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-1); Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3); Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD At Large). All but Dahlkemper were strong supporters of reproductive rights.
Five new women of color won their House races: Terri Sewell (D-AL) winning Davis' seat, who ran for governor; Karen Bass (D-CA) winning retiring Diane Watson's seat; Colleen Hanabusa winning Neil Abercrombie's seat, who won his race for governor; Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who won the seat of Kendrick Meek, who lost his bid for the Senate; and Jaime Herrera (R-WA), who won an open seat of a retiring Democrat.
In the Senate, the only woman incumbent to lose thus far was Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), endorsed by Sarah Palin and a strong opponent of reproductive choice, will be the only woman newcomer in the Senate.
Media Resources: Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 10/25/10; Statement of Eleanor Smeal 11/4/10
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. . . .