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
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. . . .