Aung San Suu Kyi Receives Congressional Gold Medal
Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress, yesterday in ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was joined by House and Senate leaders alongside Buddhist monks and women in traditional Burmese dress in presenting the award. Suu Kyi met with President Obama afterwards in the White House.
Suu Kyi told the press that it was "one of the most moving days of my life."
Suu Kyi is a human rights activist who has championed for democracy in Myanmar for decades. In 1991, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts, and formally accepted the award earlier this year. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2008, but was still under house arrest.
Between 1989 and 2010, Suu Kyi spent fifteen years under house arrest as a result of her non-violent struggle against the military junta in Myanmar. Suu Kyi's victory in the election this year opened the possibility that the National League for Democracy party could take control of Myanmar's government in the 2015 election, though the military continues to exert great influence over Myanmar's government. The National League for Democracy party has not won an election since 1990, when the results were annulled by the army-junta that was in power at the time.
Aung San Suu Kyi and her heroic efforts were featured in the Winter 2012 issue of Ms. Magazine. You can read an excerpt online at MsMagazine.com .
Media Resources: Washington Post 9/19/12; Feminist Newswire 6/18/12; Ms. Magazine 2012
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. . . .