CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin and fellow peace activist Ann Wright, a retired colonel and former US diplomat, were recently turned back when trying to enter Canada at Niagara Falls. They were on their way to a discussion of peace and security issues with the Toronto Stop the War Coalition.
According to Benjamin and Wright, they were questioned by Canadian customs officials about their anti-war efforts, including their arrests for nonviolent civil disobedience. "The border guard pulled up a [FBI] file showing that I had been arrested at the US Mission to the UN where, on International Women�s Day, a group of us had tried to deliver a peace petition..." said Benjamin in a statement. "For this, the Canadians labeled me a criminal and refused to allow me in the country." funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
Added Wright, who left her last US government job in protest of the Iraq invasion, "The FBI�s placing of peace activists on an international criminal database [known as the National Crime Information Center] is blatant political intimidation of US citizens opposed to Bush administration policies. The Canadian government should certainly not accept this FBI database as the criteria for entering the country."
Four members of the Canadian Parliament voiced their outrage and vowed to change the policy. Meanwhile, Benjamin and Wright plan to request their FBI files and demand that their arrests for peaceful actions be expunged from international records. CODEPINK has also started a petition drive to protest the Canadian policy.
Media Resources: Common Dreams Progressive Newswire 10/3/07; CODEPINK press release 10/4/07; National Post (Canada) 10/5/07
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. . . .