Senate Rejects Ratification of the UN Disabilities Treaty
Today the Senate rejected the ratification of the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by a vote of 61 for and 38 against. Because the treaty did not gain two thirds of the Senate or 66 of the 99 Senators voting for approval of the action, the treaty automatically fails. Senator Kirk (R) of Illinois was absent due to illness. The treaty would recognize fundamental human rights for persons living with disabilities on an international level. Currently 124 countries have ratified the treaty, and 154 have signed it including the United States.
The 38 no votes, cast entirely by Republicans, echoes a pledge earlier this year by many conservatives to block any international treaty brought before the Senate during the lame duck session. Only seven Republicans voted in favor of ratification.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, stated "I'm shocked that all Republican Senators except for seven would vote no for rights for persons with disabilities even though the Chamber of Commerce was for the treaty."
Media Resources: C-SPAN 2 12/4/12; United States Senate 12/4/12; Feminist Newswire 11/28/12
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. . . .