Deficit Commission Co-Chairs Alan Simpson and Erksine Bowles proposal to reduce the deficit was immediately opposed by leading Democrats, women's rights groups, and labor.
Immediately upon release, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Commissioner and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) issued scathing dismissals. Pelosi simply said the proposal was "unacceptable" and Schakowsky called it a "non-starter."
Women's rights groups, including the National Organization for Women, OWL the Voice of Midlife and Older Women, and the Feminist Majority immediately expressed their outrage.
The following is taken from the statement of the President of the Feminist Majority, Eleanor Smeal:
"Social Security has not caused the deficit problem. In fact, Social Security has accumulated a massive surplus. The U.S. cannot balance its books on the backs of older women, the disabled, and the middle class while it provides tax cuts and tax breaks to the super rich and to mega, multinational corporations.
"This proposal targets women in many areas. For example, it disproportionately cuts programs whose recipients are primarily women, such as Social Security, Medicare, the earned income tax credit, and the child tax credit. It freezes the pay of the civilian Department of Defense employees (the majority of which are women) and of so-called non-combat military forces (i.e women). Even insisting students pay interest on student loans while they are in college hits young women more than men since men are less dependent than women on college loans for their education.
"Most of its suggestions are to reduce spending rather than to increase revenue as it places the burden on middle-class Americans, especially women, and protects the skyrocketing profits of the richest Americans. Obvious solutions such as raising the cap on FICA or Social Security withholding tax to include more of the income of the highest paid Americans (i.e. mostly men) was not suggested. The proposal rejects the basic principles of a progressive income tax, which is the staple of a fair or just taxation system and it reduces corporate income taxes yet again."
Media Resources: Statements from Feminist Majority, National Organization for Women, OWL, AFL-CIO, Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
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. . . .