A hearing has been scheduled for Carol Moseley-Braun before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to consider her nomination to be ambassador to New Zealand. Jesse Helms (R-NC), Foreign Relations Committee Chair, who has stood in opposition to Moseley-Braun's nomination, has declined to preside over the hearing and has not committed to attend. Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee's subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific affairs, will preside over the full committee hearing. Helms spokesman Marc Thiessen said that Helms customarily will relinquish the gavel to relevant subcommittee chairmen at ambassadorial confirmation hearings. Moseley-Braun will still face thorough questioning without Helms in the Chair but has stated she is looking forward to the opportunity to clear her name.
Helms is accused of blocking the nomination because of his 1993 battle with Moseley-Braun over the renewal of the United Daughters of the Confederacy patent, which includes a Confederate Flag, a symbol that Moseley-Braun believes represents slavery. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) both predict that Moseley-Braun will be confirmed once her nomination come to a Senate floor vote. If the Foreign Relations Committee blocks the nomination, Daschle would favor a "recess appointment" by President Clinton that would place Moseley-Braun in the ambassadorship to New Zealand until the end of next year.
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. . . .