NCAA Seeks Protection From Sex Discrimination Suits
The NCAA asked the U.S. Supreme Court for protection from liability under Title IX, arguing that the organization receives public funds only indirectly, and therefore should be exempt from claims of sex discrimination under the federal law.
Former college athlete Renee Smith sued the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) for sex discrimination under Title IX, charging that the organization waived eligibility requirements for men more often than it did for women.
Smith played volleyball while earning her undergraduate degree, but was banned from competing during graduate and law school due to an NCAA eligibility rule that prohibits graduate students from competing in athletics at colleges other than the athlete's undergraduate institution. Smith played two seasons at St. Bonaventure and attempted to play at both Hoftstra University and the University of Pittsburgh, but was denied that opportunity.
Smith argues that the NCAA is liable under Title IX because universities receiving public funds pass on that money to the NCAA through dues payments. Counsel for the plaintiff further argues that the NCAA has discriminated against women by waiving eligibility requirements for male athletes more often than it has for female athletes. The NCAA has denied this charge and claims that the very opposite is true.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide the case by mid-summer.
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. . . .