Leaders from immigrant rights groups, labor, women's rights organizations, and faith groups have been taking part in "Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship" to pressure lawmakers to bring the immigration reform bill to a vote. The fast in Washington, DC is now in its fifteenth day. Many have been fasting for two or three day periods, but longer-term fasters have chosen to go without food until medically necessary.
Fast for Families is calling on the nation to join them in a national day of fasting and prayer between December 1 and December 3. Eliseo Medina of SEIU, one of the fast organizers, indicated yesterday that the action has inspired 103 solidarity fasters who have joined Fast for Families in tents the fasters have set up near the Capitol, as well as thousands of other fasters nationwide.
Dae Joong Yoon, a faster with the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium, explained why people are fasting: "Immigration reform is not about politics or policy, it is about people. The human cost of our broken system has created moral urgency that demands action. That is why we are fasting."
The fasters have received messages of support from several U.S. leaders including President Barack Obama. Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) both visited the Fast for Families tent earlier this month.
Fasters have declared, "We will fast and pray until the bonds of families are no longer broken. We will fast and pray until immigration reform is no longer a notion, but a reality. We will fast and pray until citizenship is no longer a dream for 11 million aspiring Americans."
Media Resources: The Washington Post 11/12/13; Feminist Newswire 10/15/13; ThinkProgress 11/27/13; SEIU 11/12/13; Fast for Families 11/26/13; NBC 11/22/13
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. . . .