Opponents of Affirmative Action File Petition Signatures in California
Backers of a California initiative that would outlaw affirmative action programs for women and people of color and would make sex discrimination legal filed over 1 million signatures Wednesday (February 21) to place the measure on the November ballot. The deceptively titled "California Civil Rights Initiative" would bar the state of California from continuing affirmative action policies used since the 1960s, policies enacted to increase opportunities for women and people of color.
A coalition of more than 100 women’s rights and civil rights groups vowed to defend affirmative action and sex discrimination laws by defeating the CCRI. The Campaign for Women’s Rights and Civil Rights includes the Feminist Majority, the YWCA, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Katherine Spillar, National Coordinator for the Feminist Majority, explained, "This (measure) is a big, big threat to all the rights that women have won in recent years. And it goes without saying that now you’re talking about half the population."
A little-known clause within the CCRI, Clause C, specifically legalizes discrimination on the basis of sex. "People need to know that if this initiative passes, we’ll be going back to things like firing women from their jobs just because they’ve become pregnant," Spillar said. "Women’s jobs and women’s paychecks are on the line."
Opponents of the initiative and supporters alike acknowledge that the effect of this initiative could reach well beyond California. Former campaign manager for the initiative Joe Gelman said, "The idea is to start here and then do away with affirmative action in the entire country." Already, deceptive "Civil Rights" initiatives are being circulated in 5 other states: Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Illinois, and Washington. Similar legislative efforts have been introduced in 17 states. With the backing of leaders in both houses of Congress, 9 similar bills have been introduced at the federal level.
Supporters of the CCRI include California Governor Pete Wilson ( R ) and Sacramento businessman Ward Connerly.
Text of CCRI
Media Resources: The Nando Times - February 21, 1996; USA Today - February 22, 1996; Reuters, February 22, 1996
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. . . .