A legal challenge of the proposed anti-affirmative action ballot initiative in Arizona was filed Monday. The challenge was filed by Protect Arizona's Freedom, a coalition of community leaders, organizations, and volunteers. The lawsuit questions "the validity of over 100,000 signatures based on evidence of 13 categories of fraudulent and illegal signature-gathering tactics." If the lawsuit is successful, the measure will be removed from the November ballot.
The signature campaign to place the measure on the ballot was initiated and largely funded by Ward Connerly, a Republican businessman from California. The American Civil Rights Institute, an organization founded by Connerly and Dusty Rhodes, has been involved in disassembling affirmative action across the nation through ballot initiatives like these for more than a decade and has provided significant financial and organizing assistance to the campaigns.
Krysten Sinema, Chair of Protect Arizona's Freedom, stated in a press release: "Once Arizonans understood the consequences and the terrible tactics brought into our state by Connerly's out of state team, hundreds – in fact, just under 1,000 – stepped up to volunteer to find the evidence needed to derail Connerly."
If approved, the measure would ban affirmative action and threaten equal opportunity programs including, Sinema said, "Arizona State University's Women in Science & Engineering Program, the Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women, the City of Phoenix' Teen Parents Program, the Summer Bridge Program helping Native American students prepare for academic challenges and a host of others."
Similar measures, also initiated by Connerly, will be on the ballot in Colorado and Nebraska. Anti-affirmative action measures were proposed but will not be on the ballot in Oklahoma and Missouri.
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. . . .