WWII Women Pilots Granted Congressional Gold Medal
Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) will collectively receive the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced legislation that sought to honor the pilots, which passed unanimously in the House of Representatives Tuesday. The WASP pilots have not previously been acknowledged for their service in the US military during World War II. The Congressional Medals will be awarded to the pilots and/or their surviving family members. Of 1,102 Women Airforce Service Pilots, about 300 are living today.
Between 1942 and 1944, WASPs flew in so-called non-combat military missions. After the war ended, women pilots were not given benefits conferred to male veterans and even to pay to return home. During the war, 38 women died in the line of duty and their families had to fund the return of their remains. These veterans were also not allowed to have a flag draped on their casket. In 1977, the WASP participants were finally granted veteran status, according to CNN.
Deanie Parrish became a pilot at age 21 in 1943. She flew a B-26 bomber for air-to-air target practice and assisted in training male gunners for combat. In a press release, Parish said "I think it's important for young people today to realize that WASP[s] flew missions that were dangerous, but in order for our country to be free, that's what it took, and we did it without any thought of recognition or glory."
Media Resources: CNN 6/16/09; Hutchison-Mikulski Press Release 6/16/09
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. . . .