Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA) won the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for US Senate yesterday and ousted incumbent Arlen Specter (D-PA), who has held the seat for nearly 30 years, all but the past year as a Republican. Sestak had approximately 54 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Specter notoriously switched to the Democratic party last year. A Sestak campaign commercial showed Specter saying "My change in party will enable me to be reelected."
In the general election, Sestak will face former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey. Sestak already has an endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice America, reported the National Partnership for Women & Families. Sestak's 2006 campaign website stated, "Regardless of my religious beliefs, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade that - as a nation - the United States should offer every woman the right to have a legal and safe abortion, if that is her choice. I support that decision," according to On The Issues. Toomey is rated 0% by NARAL Pro-Choice America and Specter was rated 21%, both indicating an anti-choice voting record, with Specter's record slightly more mixed.
Also as a result of yesterday"s primaries, two-term incumbent Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) was forced into a runoff with her most competitive opponent, Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter, in the Democratic primary for the seat. NPR reported that with 62 percent of precincts reporting, Lincoln and Halter each had about 43 percent of the vote and a third candidate, businessman DC Morrison, had 14 percent. Lincoln is a moderate Democrat who is currently one of just 17 women in the US Senate.
Media Resources: Philadelphia Inquirer 5/19/10; National Partnership for Women and Families 5/19/10; On the Issues; NPR 5/19/10
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .