The official Republican Party Platform adopted this week has the potential to threaten women's rights domestically and abroad. Globally, the platform (see PDF) rejects adopting the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It supports withholding funds from international organizations involved in abortion and upholding the "Mexico City Policy," which prohibits federal monies from being given to non-governmental organizations that provide abortions or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries.
Domestically, the platform targets abortion rights by opposing clinics at schools that provide information or referrals for abortion or contraception and by supporting parental notification requirements for both abortion and contraception. The platform also supports a constitutional amendment in support of human life, protection of the unborn under the 14th Amendment, and the appointment of more pro-life judges. The platform opposes abortion in all cases and does not allow for exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or maternal health.
Additionally, while the platform supports "the advancement of women in the military" it also favors their "exemption from ground combat units." Also regarding the military, the platform supports banning gays and lesbians from service.
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. . . .