President Obama will sign the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law today. The ceremony will take place at Interior Department. funny birthday pictures
After over 500 days without congressional reauthorization, the House approved an inclusive, bipartisan VAWA as passed by the Senate on February 28. The reauthorization includes expanded protections for students, LGBT individuals, immigrants, and Native Americans. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, said "The House passed by a wide margin (286-138) the strong, bipartisan Senate version of VAWA which was supported by the Feminist Majority and scores of women's rights, civil rights, labor, and domestic violence and sexual assault groups and organizations. ... Women's groups and their allies acted as one and created a massive grassroots lobbying campaign to pass a strong VAWA despite the Republican House leadership opposition. We cannot forget that 138 Republicans and no Democrats voted against final passage of the real VAWA. Nor can we forget those that voted to roll back full protections of VAWA for college students, immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans as well as to weaken of the Office of Violence Against Women." funny cat pictures
With VAWA just hours away from being signed into law, the Justice Department has released statistics that violence against women decreased by more than 60% from 1994, when VAWA was first enacted, to 2005. Figures remain unchanged since 2005. Smeal told reporters that this in large part is a result of VAWA and proves why it is necessary. Smeal said that now "everybody knows that rape and sexual assault are crimes and will be treated as such." funny pictures
"We have a ways to go," she added. "It is clear there is still too much violence and too many are fearful to report it."
Media Resources: Associated Press 3/7/2013; USA Today 3/7/2013; Feminist Newswire 2/28/2013
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. . . .