In an insolent statement to the Washington Post, the host of next year’s Master’s golf tournament refused a plea from the National Council of Women’s Organizations to open their exclusive Augusta, Georgia golf club to women. Hootie Johnson, chairman of Augusta National, lashed out at the NCWO after Martha Burk, chairwoman of the NCWO, sent him a letter that stated: “We know that Augusta National and the sponsors of the Masters do not want to be viewed as entities that tolerate discrimination against any group, including women.” The Feminist Majority is a member of NCWO, along with 160 other groups – making the total membership close to 6 million.
“Our membership alone decides our membership – not any outside group with its own agenda,” Johnson said in the three-page statement. “The message delivered to us was clearly coercive…We will not be bullied, threatened or intimidated. We do not intend to become a trophy in their display case.” Johnson originally responded to Burk’s letter in a three-sentence letter in which he refused further discussion on the matter - stating that Augusta membership matters are private. Johnson said in April that Augusta does not have exclusionary membership policies, although it did not have a black member until 1990 and has had no female members in its 70-year history, the Post reported.
Burk said that the NCWO next plans to contact the sponsors of the Masters – Coca-Cola, IBM and Citigroup – to ask them not to do business with a club that has no female members, according to the Post.
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. . . .