Marine Corps Now Allowing Women to Train for Combat
The male-dominated Marine Corps announced on Monday that it will allow women to train in Quantico, Virginia at its infantry officer school. Women will also be allowed to participate in ground combat battalions. Marine Corps commandant General James F. Amos announced these new rules in an All Marine Message (ALMAR).
According to General Amos, 40 women will be assigned to 19 battalions over the next couple of months. This will allow the Marine Corps to study women's performance in these units. Women are still restricted from joining infantry battalions. As the data is examined, roles for women in the Marine Corps may expand. General Amos wrote in the ALMAR, "I will consider the results and impact of the exception to the ground assignment policy, the quantitative research, and the total force survey as we make future recommendations regarding the potential assignment of women to ground combat element units."
This summer, women will be allowed to attend the three month long infantry course, but will not graduate as infantry officers. Instead, they will fill jobs currently open to women. Women are still prohibited from serving combat roles, but more than 140 women have been killed while fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Women make up 7 percent of the Marine Corps.
Media Resources: New York Times 4/25/12; Time 4/25/12; Stars and Stripes 4/24/12; Marine Corp ALMAR 4/23/12; Jezebel 4/20/12
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. . . .