Senator Boxer Introduces Global Democracy Promotion Act Today
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will reintroduce the Global Democracy Promotion Act (GDPA) this evening. If passed, the bill would overturn the Global Gag Rule, which bans funding for family planning programs in developing countries that counsel or provide information to women or advocate on a full range of options, including abortion. The bill states that "foreign nongovernmental organizations shall not be ineligible for such assistance solely on the basis of health or medical services, including counseling and referral services, provided by such organizations with non-United States Government funds if such services do not violate the laws of the country."
President Ronald Reagan implemented the Global Gag Rule through an executive order; President Clinton rescinded the executive order; President George W. Bush reinstated the executive order; and President Obama rescinded it. Following President Obama's executive order to rescind the Global Gag Rule, Boxer stated, "Now that President Barack Obama has repealed the Global Gag Rule, women throughout the world can breathe a sigh of relief and gain access to a full range of family planning services...That policy was clearly a violation of basic freedoms. This is a new day for women - President Obama's action will save thousands of lives as women throughout the world get access to healthcare they desperately need and want."
Senator Boxer has been a strong proponent of ending the Global Gag Rule and introduced legislation to overturn the policy in both 2005 and 2007. The legislation passed in the Senate, but did not become law due to President Bush's threats to veto the bill.
Media Resources: Global Democracy Promotion Act 9/20/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/29/11; Statement of Barbara Boxer 1/23/09
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. . . .