Ashcroft Appoints VAWA Opponent to Violence Against Women Committee
Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed Nancy Pfotenhauer, president and CEO of the notoriously conservative International Women’s Forum (IWF), to the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women. IWF board member Margot Hill was also invited to join the committee, which advises the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services on implementation and enforcement of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
“The appointments of Pfotenhauer and Hill to the Committee on Violence Against Women send a clear message that the administration has no intention of taking the fight against domestic violence seriously,” said Margaret Moore, director of the National Center for Women and Policing, a division of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Ironically, the IWF has vehemently protested VAWA since its passage in the 1994. In 2000, the Clinton administration said that VAWA – which provides funds for law enforcement, expands shelters for battered women and helps women on college campuses - was responsible for a 21 percent drop in violence against women. Ashcroft, in his confirmation hearings, promised to fully utilize VAWA to fight violence against women.
Pfotenhauer told the Washington Post, “I’d hope we’ve been asked to participate in this because we have a different view but one that’s constructive.” However, IWF’s record on women’s issues can only be characterized as destructive. In addition to opposing VAWA, the IWF opposes Title IX (which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational programs), comparable pay efforts, affirmative action programs, and gay and lesbian marriage and parenting.
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. . . .