Elections in Mexico Further Threaten Women's and Gay Rights
After seventy-one years of struggle for democracy in Mexico to overthrow the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the world's longest ruling political party with a history of corruption and economic irresponsibility, feminists and lesbian and gay rights activists face an even greater threat to their equality in Sunday's upcoming elections: the possibility of the National Action Party (PAN) coming to rule. Feminists worry that election of the PAN government will mean a large range of setbacks for women and gays and lesbians. The deeply conservative PAN, which has strong ties to the Catholic Church, strongly opposes abortion, and feminists fear that the already limited access to abortion in Mexico would be further jeopardized. Currently, abortion in Mexico is legal only in cases of rape or in which the mother's life is at risk. Limits on sex education in school and birth control programs are also likely to occur under PAN's authority. PAN's presidential candidate Vicente Fox, who is openly against abortion, has in the past called homosexuality an "aberration," which leads many gay rights activists to fear a likely escalation of already strong anti-gay sentiment in Mexico. Reports have indicated that persecution of gays and lesbians in Mexico has been so severe that many seek refuge status in other countries.
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. . . .