Progressive Groups Join Together To Voice Opposition To Anti-Women Judicial Nominee
The Feminist Majority joined several other women’s rights, civil rights and progressive groups at a press conference today to voice opposition to President Bush’s nomination of Michael McConnell to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the nomination of McConnell, a University of Utah law professor who has called both Roe v. Wade and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) unconstitutional and the right to an abortion “the greatest injustice of our time.”
The press conference was led by Nancy Zirkin, deputy director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, who was joined by several other leaders in expressing her opposition to McConnell for his far-right views on everything from the separation of church and state to civil rights and women’s rights. “ McConnell may be the Religious Right’s dream judicial nominee, but he’s a nightmare for all Americans who treasure the Constitution,” said Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “McConnell’s record is one of relentless hostility for individual rights and trivialization of long-fought claims of justice.”
“Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee must continue to send President Bush the message that they will not approve judges that will take away women’s rights and roll the clock backwards according to a right-wing ideology. At this time of global turmoil, we don’t need extremists in the courts willing to make a Dred Scott decision in the area of women’s fundamental rights,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “McConnell has openly stated that he believes that Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. He signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law. He applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Over and over again, he has used his right-wing ideology in place of the law to chip away at the basic human rights of women.”
McConnell is the third in a string of right-wing activists nominated to lifelong federal bench positions by President Bush. Both Priscilla Owen and Charles Pickering, nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, were rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee for their propensity to trumpet their own right-wing ideologies over the law. If confirmed by the Senate, McConnell would become a lifetime appointee to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals - the court of last resort for Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority 9/17/02; Americans United for Separation of Church and State 9/17/02; NARAL 9/17/02
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. . . .