Debate Reveals Contrast on Women’s Rights, Civil Rights Issues
In one of the most contentious exchanges in Tuesday night’s presidential debates, Vice President Al Gore clearly stated his support of affirmative action, saying affirmative action is “taking extra steps to acknowledge the history of discrimination and injustice and prejudice and bring all people into the American dream.” Gore then challenged Republican candidate George W. Bush to take the same position after the Texas governor said he did not like quotas and would support “affirmative access.” Gore pressed the issue, stating affirmative action doesn’t mean quotas and asking Bush if he supported affirmative action without quotas. Bush said he did not support Gore’s version of affirmative action. Affirmative action has been a key strategy of advancing women and minorities in the work force and erasing past institutional discrimination.
The two candidates also discussed Social Security privatization—a Bush plan that would be particularly harmful to women, who live longer than men, typically earn less, and are more dependent on social security because very few women have pension plans. Gore pointed out that Bush’s plan would cut into the money set aside for current Social Security beneficiaries, 60 percent of whom are women. And 25 percent of elderly women who live alone depend on Social Security as their only source of income. Gore also advocated for universal preschool as a part of his education policy.
Media Resources: Transcripts of Presidential Debate provided by New York Times – October 18, 2000; Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .