On Tuesday, Rep. Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wis) announced her bid for U.S. Senate which, if successful, would make her the first openly gay senator in U.S. history. Baldwin is a champion of the rights of the middle class, stating, "I've decided to run for the US Senate because I believe Wisconsin families need a senator who will work hard to deliver results for the middle class - a leader with the courage to do what's right, no matter how tough the odds or how powerful the special interests we have to fight." Other issues that Baldwin plans to address during her campaign include Wall Street reform and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The Senate seat is currently held by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, who will be retiring.
Baldwin is currently the only openly gay Congresswoman. "The fact is, I've been honest about my sexual orientation my entire adult life. And integrity is important in public service...I know that, in this campaign, we'll be up against some powerful special interests. But I've beaten the odds before. All my life, the naysayers have told me that I can't win because I'm a progressive...because I'm a woman...even because I'm a lesbian. And I've proven them wrong," Baldwin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Baldwin is expected to gain strong support from LGBT and women's organizations, having already been endorsed by the Feminist Majority PAC, Emily's List, as well as the Human Rights Campaign. Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, released a statement, saying, "Tammy Baldwin's candidacy for the U.S. Senate is monumental for both the state of Wisconsin and the country's LGBT community. Tammy has proven herself as an effective legislator over the course of her 13 years in Congress and this campaign will be a top priority for the Human Rights Campaign."
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 9/6/11; Huffington Post 9/6/11; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 9/6/11
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. . . .