Britain Reviewing Ban on Women in Face-to-Face Combat
The British Ministry of Defense announced this week that they will review a policy barring women from serving in military positions that could require them to kill an enemy in close combat. According to the Guardian UK, a review of this policy is required every eight years due to the European Community Equal Treatment Directive. In 2002, Britain reviewed and retained the policy, which currently bans women from the army's infantry and cavalry and from naval submarines.
Brig Richard Nugee, who will be directing the British army's review of the policy, told the BBC: "The real point is that we now have practical experience of women in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq and we want to see, genuinely want to see, what effect that will have on our military. This is a very open-minded review, we have no conclusions yet."
General Mike Jackson, who formerly led the British army, told the Guardian UK that he hasn't seen any major change since the government's last review of the policy. He said the reason the policy should be maintained "is not because women are not capable, [but because] it comes to the dynamics of units of 18-year-old soldiers....It is all about unit cohesion, not the capability of the soldier."
The United States currently restricts women from direct combat roles in infantry positions or in the Special Forces.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .