Florida Governor Vetoes Rape Crisis Center Funding
Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed $1.5 million in funding for the state's rape crisis centers this week. Scott's decision will affect 30 rape crisis centers across 67 counties in Florida. Scott's press secretary told the Huffington Post that the governor vetoed the legislation because"this new funding of $1.5 million would have been duplicative, since, as a state, we already fund sexual violence programs." The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence disputed this claim, saying the funding Scott was referring to goes to educational programs, not victims services.
Executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, Jennifer Dritt, said "We gave them information about the number of new survivors we have and we showed them that these rape crisis centers have waiting lists. Survivors are having to wait weeks, sometimes six weeks, in some programs three months to be seen. We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren't able to offer because of a lack of money. There is clearly an unmet need."
Scott's veto is viewed as particularly shocking because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The United States Senate is also due to vote on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act this week, which provides funding to state and local governments for responding to sexual assault, as well as domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Media Resources: White House Blog 4/25/12; ThinkProgress 4/24/12; Huffington Post 4/23/12
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. . . .