Judiciary Committee to Consider Two Anti-Women Nominees Tomorrow
Two appellate court nominees opposed by the Feminist Majority and a wide range of women’s rights and civil rights groups are scheduled to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, the New York Times reported today. The two nominees are Dennis Shedd to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and Michael McConnell to the Tenth Circuit.
"It is crucial that we alert the feminist community to what is happening with the courts of this land,” declared Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “Already, we have lost the majority of circuit courts – they are being stacked with judges hostile to women and women's rights. This will be a long-lasting legacy... these appointments are for life. Therefore, it is imperative that more moderate judicial appointments fill the empty seats."
McConnell has repeatedly advocated the reversal of Roe v. Wade and has openly stated that he believes 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. In addition, he applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).
With a limited record on reproductive rights, Judge Shedd has refused to say that he believes that the Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to choose. However, in 1997 Shedd did vote against the right to privacy that forms the basis of Roe v. Wade when he ruled against the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) – a law that protects women, abortion providers and others from violence by barring state department of motor vehicles from releasing personal information about an individual without their consent. According to the Charleston Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Shedd has also characteristically ruled against plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases, gender discrimination cases and civil rights cases.
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. . . .