Sequester Targets Education, Violence Prevention Programs, Child Care
On Sunday, the White House released a comprehensive list of the impact the possible sequester cuts will have on each state if an agreement is not reached by Congress before March 1st. The list revealed shocking cuts to programs heavily relied upon by women in each state.
If the sequester goes into effect, one of the hardest hit areas will be education. California, Texas, and Florida will see the largest decreases in funding of public K-12 education, risking an estimated 2,890 teacher jobs at the grade school level. These states also could see large decreases in funding for programs focusing on education for children with disabilities. Higher education will also be impacted by reduced funding in financial aid and work study jobs that benefit primarily low-income students.
Another program that is set to be cut under the sequester is the STOP Violence Against Women Program. This program was created under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994, and provides grants to violence prevention programs. The three states that would see the greatest cuts in the STOP program are California, Texas, and New York. These three states alone could lose funding that would benefit an estimated 6,700 victims of violence. A total of $13 million would be cut for violence prevention across the country.
Sequester cuts will also impact government funding of child care programs. New York, Texas, and California would again be the three states most impacted by these cuts. Child care program funding is essential for working families that cannot afford private child care. In addition, California, Texas, and Florida would also see the largest cuts in funding for child vaccinations. An estimated 32,990 children would not be able to receive vaccines.
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. . . .