Arizona Shooter Sentenced to Life in Prison without Parole
Jared Loughner, who attempted to assassinate then Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords, killed six, and wounded thirteen in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011 was sentenced to seven consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole yesterday. According to CNN, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns believed that even though 24-year-old Loughner suffered from mental illness, he was still aware of his actions during the shooting.
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, attended the sentencing hearing. Kelly, with Giffords by his side, addressed Loughner and said, "Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven't put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world and better place." Nine other victims of the shooting were also present and spoke at the hearing.
Giffords, the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from Arizona, is considered a moderate "Blue Dog" Democrat. Supported by feminist groups, she is pro-choice and has stood up for comprehensive immigration reform, health-care reform, stem-cell research and raising the minimum wage, among other positions. Prior to the shooting, she had been the target of vandalism and inflammatory campaigns by conservative super PACs, such as Sarah Palin's SarahPAC, who put forth a map of the U.S. with 20 locations marked with the crosshairs of gun sights to indicate 20 House Democrats, including Giffords, who voted for the health-care bill and thus should be removed from office.
Media Resources: CNN 11/8/12; New York Times 11/8/12; Feminist News 1/10/11
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. . . .