Pro-Choice and Anti-War Congressman, Priest Dies at 86
Father Robert Drinan, a Jesuit priest and lawyer who served in the US Congress for ten years died on Sunday at the age of 86. Father Drinan defied directives from Father Pedro Arrupe, then head of the Jesuit order, and ran for Congress in 1970 on an anti-war platform. He succeeded, representing Massachusetts' third district as the nation�s first Roman Catholic to serve in Congress.
"Father Drinan was a stalwart champion for women and those who faced discrimination," said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. "He supported women's rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and even a woman's right to choose. His support for women came through strongly as he spoke - perhaps for the last time - the mass for Nancy Pelosi's inauguration as Speaker of the House of Representatives."
As a Catholic priest, he quickly became politically controversial for his liberal views. He opposed the draft and the Vietnam War, calling it "morally objectionable," the Associated Press reports. He supported the impeachment of Republican President Richard Nixon, not because of the Watergate scandal, but because of what Father Drinan saw as Nixon's undeclared war against Cambodia. "Can we be silent about this flagrant violation of the Constitution? Can we impeach a president for concealing a burglary but not for concealing a massive bombing," Father Drinan asked rhetorically. Later, he opposed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, saying that an impeachment should be for something done officially, not privately, according to the AP.
After leaving Congress, Father Drinan became the president of the liberal group, Americans for Democratic Action and taught at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC. He died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
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. . . .