The Army says it will court-martial Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney on 20 counts of sexual harassment, including adultery, indecent assault, soliciting sex, and threatening a female soldier. If convicted, he will face up to 50 years in prison, and receive a dishonorable discharge.
McKinney, the Army's top elisted man and an African-American, has denied the charges brought by six white women and says the case has been racially motivated. His attorney claims that if the case goes to trial, McKinney will reveal sexual misconduct on the part of other senior officers that has gone unpunished.
Responding to increased complaints about sexual harassment and assault in the military, Civilian Army Secretary Togo West announced last month that along with extending boot camp for education on gender issues and improved treatment of women, the Army would make the selection process for drill sergeants tighter by using psychological tests to screen candidates.
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. . . .