Senate Hearing Tomorrow for International Women’s Treaty
After 23 years of advocacy by women’s organizations, the only international treaty drafted solely to protect women’s rights will have a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at 10 a.m. tomorrow. The United Nations’ Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) - which defines discrimination against women and gives nations a plan of action to ensure equality – has been ratified by 169 countries. The United States is not one of them. “This is a national disgrace,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, which has worked for many years to bring the treaty before the Senate for ratification. “This treaty is an invaluable tool for ensuring women’s rights around the world and here at home.”
In recognition of the historical importance of this event, committee chair Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) will hand his gavel to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the committee’s sole female member, who will chair the hearing. Boxer has been a tireless advocate for the treaty, citing the need for the United States to lead the fight against discrimination for women around the world. She points to the repression of women under the Taliban in Afghanistan as a pertinent example. “We know what it means now to be a woman suffocating under a burqa,” Boxer said in a press conference today. “We often make statements to other countries about their treatment of women…[this treaty] gives us the moral authority, that frankly we deserve, to address human rights violations against women.”
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. . . .