With the steadfast leadership of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE), the committee’s current chair, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the committee’s sole female member, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning passed the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), also known as the Women’s Treaty, by a vote of 12-7. "I am optimistic that when CEDAW reaches the Senate floor before the elections, it will be ratified," said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. This historic vote marks the first time in 22 years that the treaty has made it out of committee in time for a vote by the full Senate. Supporters packed the room during the committee vote, with virtually no opposition visible. Supporters present included the Feminist Majority and its president, Eleanor Smeal; the National Council of Women’s Organizations and its president, Martha Burk; the Business and Professional Women/USA and its CEO, Jane Smith; and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote Thursday on the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, funding for reconstruction, and humanitarian aid. Take Action on ISAF
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. . . .