The Bush administration’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics held its first hearing on Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education, in Atlanta yesterday. The hearings opened with three panels of appointed speakers including Title IX author the Honorable Birch Bayh, a former US Senator from Indiana. “Title IX is the most significant contribution to women’s equality since the ratification of the 19th amendment,” Bayh said. In the last 30 years, Title IX has increased women’s participation in sports by more than 800 percent at the high school level and approximately 400 percent at the collegiate level. Title IX has also made possible the integration of medical schools and law schools.
The commission was created by Bush allegedly to ensure that Title IX allows fairness for both sexes, however, the Feminist Majority and other leading women’s groups are calling the commission the newest attempt to weaken a landmark federal law that eliminated gender discrimination in education. While co-chaired by former WNBA star Cynthia Cooper, the commission is stacked with representatives from NCAA Division I schools - many of which are still not in compliance with Title IX after 30 years.
Despite Title IX’s enormous gains for women and girls, opponents attacked the law during the public comment session following yesterday’s panel discussion. Wrestlers and male gymnasts made numerous false allegations about Title IX, erroneously claiming that Title IX diminishes athletic opportunities for men and boys and state that women and girls do not want to participate in athletics. Aimee Boone, senior campus organizer at the Feminist Majority Foundation, also testified at the commission’s hearings, citing her 18 years of participation in athletics as further proof of women and girls’ desire to play sports. “I can't imagine what my life would be without sports,” Boone said as reported in USA Today. “We are not at equality yet. We have come very far, but we still have much further to go.”
The commission has scheduled five hearings around the country on Title IX – four of which are open to the public. The next hearing will be held in Chicago on September 17-18 with another to follow in Colorado Springs on October 22-23.
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. . . .