The State Department announced yesterday that it will send a 3-person delegation to China later this month to assess the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA) activities there. The 3-member team will consist of William Brown, Former ambassador to Thailand and Israel, Bonnie Glick, a former Sate Department employee who worked in Ethiopia ad Nicaragua, and Dr. Theodore Tong, a public health professor from the University of Arizona. The delegation is expected to complete its visit and follow-up report by late June.
President Bush froze the US’s $34 million contribution to the UNFPA after anti-choice forces accused the agency of contributing to forced sterilizations and abortions in China. The UNFPA contends that it only works in Chinese counties where the one-child per family rule is no longer in effect and does not use US money for programs in China. Bush’s decision to freeze the US contribution has created a financial hardship for the UNFPA, resulting in staff and program cuts that could leave hundreds of thousands of women in developing countries without health care.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .