The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Monday that CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley will moderate one of three presidential debates this fall, which will be the first time in 20 years that a woman has done so. ABC's Martha Raddatz will moderate the vice-presidential debate, and PBS's Jim Lehrer and CBS's Bob Schieffer will moderate the two remaining presidential debates, making this the first time in the commission's history that the moderators will be split evenly between male and female journalists.
The commission has been under public scrutiny lately over the fact that only one woman - Carole Simpson in 1992 - has moderated a presidential debate since the commission took control of the debates over a quarter-century ago.
The increased attention given to this issue was largely due to three young women - Emma Axelrod, Elena Tsemberis and Sammi Siegel - who started a Change.orgpetition calling for the commission to include another woman moderator this election season. Their petition gained over 180,000 signatures and national attention with the help of several US lawmakers and women's organizations who joined forces to inject this subject into the national conversation.
"Women were being overlooked, and while it might not have been an active prejudice, it was definitely there," Axelrod told NPR's All Things Considered on Monday. "So, the fact that now we're closing that gap of 20 years, that is what I'm excited that a woman will bring, the equal representation."
Media Resources: Reuters 8/13/12; LA Times 8/13/12; NPR 8/13/12; SF Gate 8/13/12
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. . . .