In an attempt by Democrats to ease relations with Republicans in the last days before control of the Senate shifts to the right, the US Senate Judiciary Committee approved two of President Bush’s anti-women’s rights, anti-civil rights judicial nominees today. Despite continued opposition from the Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and civil right’s groups, the nominations of Judge Dennis Shedd and Michael McConnell will next move to the full Senate for consideration where approval is considered likely, Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the Associated Press.
Nine Democrats voted against Shedd, a former staff member of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), who is famous for his consistent opposition to civil rights, while only one Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), voted against McConnell – who has consistently advocated for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and declared the landmark abortion rights decision unconstitutional.
“I am trusting that Professor McConnell will not seek to undermine women’s reproductive rights,” Leahy said, before casting his vote in favor of the Utah law professor who signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law and applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Leahy added that he was basing his decision on McConnell’s previous assurances that as a judge, he would follow the law as it currently stands.
If approved by the full Senate, McConnell would be granted a lifetime appointment to the Appeals Court for the Tenth Circuit, which includes Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Shedd would be given a lifetime position on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority 11/14/02; Associated Press 11/14/02
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. . . .