A record number of women ran for office in yesterday’s 2002 midterm election. Of the 10 women who ran for governor, four won – making six the new total of women governors, four Democrats and two Republicans. That’s just one more than the five women governors who served this past term. Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm (D) and Arizona’s Janet Napolitano (D) both soundly defeated their opponents by a 3-point lead while Kansas’ Kathleen Sebelius (D) pulled even farther ahead with 8 points on her opponent. Meanwhile, in the first-ever woman versus woman race in Hawaii, Linda Lingle (R) defeated Mazie Hirono (D) by five points.
A total of 124 women ran for seats in the US House of Representatives, just over the previous record for women candidates – 120 in 1996. Of the 124 women candidates (including US Rep Patsy Mink (D-HI) who died just before the election but her name remained on the ballot), 59 will be part of the 108th Congress. This number is the same as the 107th Congress – with a total of seven new women entering the House, five Republicans and two Democrats.
Eleven women ran for US Senate seats with a total of two declared victories and two still vying for one seat – Louisiana’s Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu will face her Republican challenger Suzanne Haik Terrell in a December 7 runoff election. Louisiana was one of two states where women opposed other women for Senate seats; in Maine, incumbent Susan Collins (R) defeated her Democratic challenger Chellie Pingree by 16 points. In another race, Elizabeth Dole (R) sailed to victory in North Carolina, defeating her Democratic opponent by nine points. A total of 13 women (including either Landrieu or Terrell from Louisiana) will serve in the Senate next term, equaling women’s presence in the last session.
Media Resources: Center for American Women and Politics Election Watch 11/6/02; CNN.com 11/6/02
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. . . .