Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced yesterday that she will run for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Coakley is currently the only woman elected to statewide office in Massachusetts and, if elected, would be the first woman to represent the state in the US Senate, according to the Boston Globe. Currently, there are 17 women US Senators. Coakley served as Middlesex District Attorney before being elected attorney general in 2006.
At her announcement, Coakley said, "We all know we need strong leadership to renew the economy and make it work for everyone, not only the privileged few. We need strong
leadership to tackle the tough problems we see not only in Massachusetts but across the country. We need to get results on health care reform, protect the environment, provide public safety and protect our civil rights," according to the New York Times.
Senator Kennedy died last week at his Massachusetts home after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Kennedy was a champion of women's rights in the Senate and the principal sponsor of more landmark legislation than any other Senator in U.S. history. Among other key legislation for women's rights, civil rights, and human services, Kennedy played vital roles in the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment Extension Act of 1978, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Civil Rights Restoration Act, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), the Family Medical Leave Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
A primary race for Kennedy's seat will be held on December 8, prior to a special election to be held January 19, 2010.
Media Resources: Boston Globe 9/4/09; New York Times 9/3/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/26/09
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. . . .