VAWA To Go Before House of Representatives Tomorrow
Late last night, the House Rules Committee decided to bring the inclusive Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) to the House floor for a vote - provided that a restrictive House substitute bill is rejected first.
House leadership announced a substitute bill last week that guts necessary protections for students, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and Native Americans from the Senate bill. A similar "fake" VAWA was proposed by House leadership last year in an attempt to block inclusive protections, and instead allowed VAWA to expire at the end of the year without even seeing a vote.
However, the substitute bill has triggered an outcry from both House Democrats and Republicans, in addition to criticism from the White House and women's rights organizations. At a press conference yesterday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi led Democratic and women's rights leaders in decrying the House's attempt to restrict protections. Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI), told the media "How can we justify turning battered women away because of their sexual orientation? "How can we throw our Native American women under the bus?" Also at the press conference Lauren Dunn, currently a law student at the University of Maryland who is a survivor of a gang rape by two undergraduate students, told reporters "Ending domestic assault is not about politics. Ending violence against women is about justice "justice for victims like me."
As determined by the House Rules Committee, if the substitute bill is defeated the House will then immediately vote on the inclusive bill as passed by the Senate. Reportedly, the restrictive substitute bill is likely to fail, paving the way for the Senate bill to pass with bipartisan support. If so, the bill could go before President Obama by the end of the week.
Media Resources: New York Times 2/27/2013; Executive Office of the President 2/26/2013; Feminist Majority 2/26/2013; The Hill 2/26/2013; Huffington Post 2/26/2013Feminist Newswire 2/22/2013
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. . . .