Following the Senate confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court by a vote of 58-42, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal issued the following statement:
The confirmation of Samuel Alito to the seat of Sandra Day O’Connor must be a wake-up call for American women. After the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, several Senators lost their seats, and the number of Democratic women in the Senate quadrupled from one (Barbara Mikulski) to five (with the addition of Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Carol Moseley Braun, and Patty Murray) – a true breakthrough.
With the confirmation of Samuel Alito, women’s rights, especially our right to access contraception and abortion, affirmative action, and sex and race anti-discrimination law, are in grave jeopardy. The consequences of the Republican stacking of the Supreme Court with reactionary judges will tragically remind Americans again and again of these bleak days for social justice.
Fifty-eight Senators turned their backs on progress for women and civil rights for all people. People, especially women, concerned with progress for human rights must be a significant force to change the current balance of the Senate. Women cannot take a backseat but must be in the leadership of this change.
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. . . .