Bush Continues Opposition to Affirmative Action on MLK Day
President Bush is scheduled to attend a congregation today at a primarily African-American Baptist church in Glenarden, MD. Just yesterday, the church's Rev. John K. Jenkins preached at four services to more than 6,000 people that he hoped that “God will change [Bush's] heart" about affirmative action, according to the Washington Post. On Thursday, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s actual birthday, the Bush administration announced its decision to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting the lawsuit of white students against the University of Michigan’s admission policy, which considers race, along with geography, test scores, grades, and a host of other personal achievements. The Post points out that the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden is likely to be filled with African-American professionals, some of whom benefited from affirmative action in their schooling and careers.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, the highest-ranking African-American in the Bush Administration, stated Sunday that he disagrees with President Bush’s position on the Supreme Court case, according to the Associated Press. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice agrees with the President’s decision, though she supports using race as one factor among many in university admissions if race-neutral policies to achieve diversity are not working, Fox News reports. Rice, an African-American, admits that she benefited from affirmative action during her career at Stanford University, according to AP. Civil rights activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte said in a speech on Sunday that while he was somewhat pleased that Rice supports race in admissions policies some of the time, he believes that under Bush, “Affirmative action is the next to go, and a woman’s right to [choose] is the next to go,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Coming right after the Trent Lott debacle,” Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal stated, “this decision clearly shows exactly where the Bush administration stands on issues of race. Women have made gains in employment and education because of affirmative action. If we lose affirmation action on the basis of race, we will eventually lose it on the basis of gender. Remember, the administration is also attacking Title IX, the law that guarantees women equality in federally funded education. A Bush-appointed commission currently reviewing Title IX is scheduled to vote at the end of the month to reduce sports opportunities for girls.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .