House Legislators Cut Food Stamps for 48 Million Americans
On Thursday afternoon, the US House of Representatives passed a severely reduced version of The Farm Bill. This version of the bill eliminated the food stamp program and the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). The bill passed in a close vote of 216 to 208 along stark party lines.
In 2013, 48 million Americans, approximately 1 in 7, utilized the Food Stamp program. Between April of 2012 and April of 2013, 39 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase of SNAP beneficiaries, with Maryland, Illinois, and Wyoming recording SNAP caseload increases of 8% or higher.
The food stamp provision was originally added to the farm bill 50 years ago in an effort to bring partisan support to legislation for farm subsidies during an era when rural congressional members were decreasing in numbers. Since that time the amount of spending within the farm bill for SNAP benefits account for 80% of the bill.
The separation of the Food Stamps program from the Farm Bill was protested formally by a collection of 532 farming organizations that drafted a letter to House representatives stating their desire for the two pieces of legislation to remain together.
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. . . .