Four Servicewomen File Lawsuit Challenging Ban on Women in Combat
Four female service members, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal law suit in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon to end the Pentagon's ban on women serving in direct combat jobs. The lawsuit alleges that due to the ban women who have been attached to male combat units and have seen combat as a result of the nature of their missions are currently denied the same access that the men they served alongside have to combat leadership schools or positions that could lead to promotions. The four women plaintiffs have all served in Afghanistan or Iraq under combat conditions, and two are Purple Heart recipients.
Major Mary Jennings Hegar, one of the plaintiffs, said in a press release for ACLU, "The ability to serve in combat has very little to do with gender or any other generalization. It has everything to do with heart, character, ability, determination and dedication. This policy is an injustice to the women who have come before us and who continue to put their lives on the line for their country." Major Jennings Heger has served three tours in Afghanistan and has been rewarded the Purple Heart.
This is the second federal law suit against the combat ban this year. In May, Two female soldiers filed a lawsuit charging that the military's ban on women in combat is unconstitutional and violates their equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment.
Currently, there are 238,000 jobs - about one-fifth of the regular active-duty military - that are off-limits to women. In February, the Pentagon announced a new policy that would open up more positions to women but the policy continues to prohibit women from infantry, armor, and special-operations units. Women make up about 14 per cent of the active-duty military. About 150 women have died in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Media Resources: New York Times 11/28/12; ACLU Press Release 11/27/12; Washington Post 11/27/12; Feminist Newswire 5/24/12
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. . . .