Feminists supported Virginia Democratic Candidates Terry McAuliffe for Governor and Dr. Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor in decisive wins, and Mark Herring leads Mark Obenshain for Attorney General by 475 votes, with all precincts reporting. The Attorney General race is close enough to trigger a recount. The Virginia Democratic statewide ticket, which supported abortion rights, gun control, and marriage equality, was endorsed by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the National Organization for Women, and the Feminist Majority. The Republican ticket, backed by the Tea Party wing, had extreme positions opposing abortion even in the cases of rape and incest, marriage equality, and gun control measures, while favoring restricting birth control.
"The gender gap, led by young, unmarried, and minority women and the abortion and birth control issue, was decisive in the Virginia governor's race," said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority.
The Virginia exit polls on the Governor's race revealed that McAuliffe defeated Cuccinelli with a gender gap of eight points. McAuliffe received 54 percent of women's votes to 38 percent for Cucinelli, and the vote was split among men nearly even with 46 percent for McAuliffe and 47 percent for Cuccinelli. According to the New York Times exit polls, McAuliffe "won 59 percent of the votes of people who said abortion was the most important issue to them, who made up 20 percent of the electorate."
Among women voters, unmarried women gave McAuliffe the greatest advantage. McAuliffe won unmarried women by a whopping 42 percent. Exit polls reported that 67 percent of unmarried women - a category composed of single, divorced, widowed or separated women - favored McAuliffe, and only 25 percent favored Cuccinelli. Page Gardner, President of Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund, said, "Once again, unmarried women are a major political force in American politics that can make or break a race." Unmarried women in the United States comprise nearly half of the adult women population. According to exit polls, married women, on the other hand, voted 50 percent to 41 percent for Cuccinelli.
Media Resources: ElectionResults.Virginia.gov 11/5/13; The New York Times Exit Polls 2013; Democracy Corps Election Night Press Release 11/5/13
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. . . .