International Violence Against Women Act Reintroduced in Congress
The bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) was reintroduced today in both the US House and Senate. IVAWA would be the first of its kind to comprehensively incorporate US foreign assistance programs to help stop gender-based violence and poverty, promote economic opportunities for women, halt violence against girls in schools, and ultimately empower women.
John Kerry (D-MA), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women's Issues; Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME); and Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the legislation today.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), said in a press release, "Every day, too many women and girls across the globe endure horrific acts of violence. They are disfigured by acid, raped and beaten, or they are denied the opportunity to see a doctor. This important legislation gives the United States government the tools to make international violence against women and girls a top diplomatic priority."
IVAWA was originally drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden (D) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) in collaboration with over 40 women's groups and 100 non-governmental organizations worldwide. The bill would centralize women-related state departments into one office; create a five-year strategy to fight domestic violence in 10 to 20 countries and back it up with funds; and require training in emergency measures for organizations working with populations susceptible to violence.
Media Resources: Women Thrive; John Kerry Press Release 2/4/2010; Feminist Newswire 10/23/2009
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. . . .