The Senate rejected a bill that would have expanded the scope of background checks for potential gun owners on Wednesday. In a speech following the defeat, President Obama cited conservative control of the Senate as the reason for the loss: "A few minutes ago, 90% of Democrats in the Senate just voted for [gun control]. But it's not going to happen because 90% of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea." One senator, Joe Manchin, (D-WV), recently suggested that his fellow members were inclined to vote the bill down because of political pressure from the National Rifle Association.
Multiple sources agree that 90 percent of Americans approve of universal background checks and more stringent requirements for gun owners in general. Vice President Joe Biden explained Wednesday's outcome despite that fact with a quote from a conversation he had with a Congressperson: "that 10 percent who doesn't agree [with gun control], they are going to show up. They’re going to show up and vote." The Washington Post reports that NRA members and other anti-gun control advocates visit their representatives with more frequency than pro-gun control individuals.
In anticipation of heightened efforts by the pro-gun control lobby, a representative from the organization stated "we are prepared for a very long war and a very expensive war."
The National Rifle Association and its supporters have been active in opposing gun control measures since December 2012. In response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, CEO Wayne LaPierre called for protective measures in the form of armed sentinels in schools and other public places, not limitations on who can and cannot purchase arms. He said gun control legislation violates the Second Amendment.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 4/18/2013; The Washington Post 4/18/2013; Feminist Daily Newswire 01/30/13
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. . . .