Bill to Repeal Death Penalty Passes MD Senate Committee
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's bill to abolish the death penalty has passed in the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a 6 to 5 vote. The bill will now move to the Senate floor, where it is expected to pass. Twenty-six of the Maryland Senate's forty-seven members have pledged to support the bill.
Senator Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), who acted as the chairman of the panel, said, "Human beings make mistakes. No matter how hard we try . . . to find a way to beat all the error out of our system, I don't believe that's possible."
Thirty-two U.S. jurisdictions have refrained from using capital punishment in the last five years according to a 2011 study by the Death Penalty Information Center. In fact, most executions occur in southern states. Texas, for example, is credited with over one third of all executions nationally. If the state were to pass the bill, Maryland would join seventeen other states which have outlawed capital punishment. Currently, five prisoners are on death row in Maryland.
Media Resources: Delmarva Now 2/22/2013; Think Progress 2/22/2013; Washington Post 2/22/2013
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. . . .