Organizers of the Next Millenium Conference opened the four-day domestic violence awareness event yesterday with a videotaped address by First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, who declared, "Citizens and governments around the world will recognize that domestic violence is not a custom, it is a crime."
More than 2,000 domestic violence experts, survivors, and advocates assembled for the Chicago conference, which was organized by the Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) are just two of the conference's scheduled speakers.
Anna Belle Burleson of Austin, Texas, is one of the many domestic violence survivors participating in the conference. After 10 years in an abusive marriage, Burleson finally was prompted to leave after she "looked death in the face." Burleson explained, "The last time I was assaulted, it was very severe and I realized that if I did not get out of this relationship, I was going to be murdered." Burleson is now divorced and works tirelessly on behalf of other domestic violence survivors.
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. . . .