Suits Seek Gender Equality in Sports in NCAA, High Schools
Women students and their parents are bringing suits against the Michigan High School Athletics Association (MHSAA) and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) to gain compliance with Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs. In the Michigan class-action case, plaintiff Jay Roberts-Eveland claims the high school sports association denies female athletes equal facilities, scheduling, and treatment. The MHSAA argues that the association is exempt from Title IX compliance because of the organization’s non-profit status and voluntary membership. However, a recent U.S. Supreme Court determined that state athletic associations are “state actors” subject to similar constitutional requirements as other public entities.
In a related NCAA case, a female athlete is suing the NCAA for sex discrimination. The NCAA has maintained that since it does not receive federal funds, the association is not required to comply with Title IX laws, leaving it free to treat men and women’s sports inequitably. A federal judge had originally ruled in favor of the NCAA, but the plaintiff, Renee Smith, appealed on the grounds that the NCAA does receive federal funds via colleges and universities and via the National Youth Sports Fund (NYSF), both of which are supported by federal tax dollars. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Smith on the former ground, but left open the possibility that funding from NYSF would require Title IX compliance. The case will likely return to the lower courts for further examination.
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. . . .