Vice President Joe Biden will hold a forum today with other senior officials to discuss the importance of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. According to MSNBC, those speaking at the forum will include Attorney General Eric Holder, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Lynn Rosenthal, the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, and Sharon Love, whose daughter Yeardley Love was killed after being the victim of domestic violence. The Washington Post reports that Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown will also join Vice President Biden. Brown's cousin was killed by her estranged boyfriend.
Debate on the reauthorization is said to begin in the Senate this week. 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.
Media Resources: MSNBC News 4/18/12; Washington Post 4/17/12; Huffington Post 4/16/12; Feminist News Wire 3/15/12
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .