WASHINGTON, DC—Student activists have joined an unprecedented effort by women’s rights, abortion rights, civil rights, gun control, environmental and gay and lesbian rights organizations to oppose the nomination of John Ashcroft for U.S. Attorney General. Young feminist activists – high school students, college students, and interns – take to Capitol Hill today to urge Senators to block Ashcroft’s confirmation.
Feminist Majority, along with other STOP Ashcroft NOW! coalition members, will kick off the day with a briefing session at the Mott House. Young activists from as close as Baltimore, Maryland to as far away as Dallas, Texas will then visit Senate offices and collectively voice their opposition to Ashcroft’s confirmation based on his ultra-conservative, anti-women’s rights record.
“John Ashcroft has shown us two faces, during his Senate confirmation hearings,” said Annie O’Connell, a recent alum of the New College of the University of South Florida and a Field Coordinator for the Feminist Majority. “He said that he will enforce all the laws, including those that he personally opposes, yet his record shows that he has led a life long crusade to overturn those same laws.”
As part of its efforts to mobilize young women, Feminist Majority has reached out to campuses across the country, galvanizing them to take action against Ashcroft’s confirmation through e-mails, phone calls, faxes, and letters. Mass mobilization efforts have also been aided using three websites, www.feminist.org, www.feministcampus.org, and www.tranisitionwatch.org, to alert young feminists throughout the country. The three sites receive over a million hits a week, with more than 50% of visits being from users between the ages of 18-24.
Today, activists, representing the scores of young feminists opposed to the nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General will join forces and personally urge Senators to vote against Ashcroft’s nomination. Says O’Connell, “We, as young people, have the most to lose by the nomination of this right-wing extremist. For example, we are the ones who need access to safe and affordable reproductive healthcare, and John Ashcroft has spent most of his political career trying to take that access away.”
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. . . .