Senate Split 51-48 for Republicans after Landrieu Wins Seat in Louisiana
First-term Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu beat her Republican opponent, Suzanne Haik Terrell, by 52 to 48 percent in Louisiana’s runoff election on Saturday. Landrieu’s win came as a surprise to both sides, as Terrell had raised and spent considerably more money than Landrieu. In addition, Terrell had the advantage of a stump speech by President Bush that raised $1.3 million in the final week of the campaign, as well as access to his national database of donors. Just last week a a Republican official dubbed the Louisiana race “Operation Icing on the Cake.” Democrats were hopeful that this victory “proves the Democrats are alive and well,” as Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) put it, according to the New York Times. The US Senate remains in the hands of the Republicans, with Senators split 51 Republican, 48 Democrat, and one Independent.
Analysts have attributed Landrieu’s win to a variety of factors. Key to her victory was African-American voter turnout. Landrieu herself said at a news conference this morning, “The soul of our party is the African American community, and they stood up,” according to the Washington Post. African-American voters had been critical of Landrieu, fearing that she was too conservative. However, some analysts said that attack ads by Republicans portraying Landrieu as very liberal may have provided some unexpected support from the black community, according to the Post. Landrieu also characterized her win as indicating growing antagonism toward President Bush, saying “[Louisiana voters] are very disappointed at what they are seeing coming out of the White House, and they just expressed that anger,” reported the Post.
Although both women support the right to abortion in the case of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother, Terrell has said she favors an eventual ban on abortion in all cases, Kaisernetwork.org reports. Landrieu is more supportive of abortion rights, though she does support so-called “partial-birth” abortion bans.
Media Resources: Washington Post 12/9/02; New York Times 12/9/02; Kaisernetwork.org 12/6/02; Feminist Daily News Wire
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. . . .