A blog carnival is beginning today in support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). A Senate briefing was held last week on VAWA, which is due to expire at the end of this year. The legislation is scheduled to be marked up in the Senate committee on Thursday.
VAWA was originally drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden and was signed into law in 1994. It was then reauthorized by Congress in both 2000 and 2005. The law has thus far allocated more than $9 billion to improve federal, state, and local-level investigation and prosecution of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and to provide support for prevention, education, temporary shelters, rape crisis centers and community services for survivors.
It is estimated that every nine seconds, a woman is abused in the United States and nearly one-third of women in the United States report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some time in their lives. Since the passage of VAWA, the rate of intimate partner violence has dropped by 53 percent. A summary of the blog posts will appear at www.HERvotes.us
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. . . .