Dems Vow to Continue Estrada Opposition, Feminist Groups Urge Call-in
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) broke rank yesterday with key Senate Democrats, lending his support for the nomination of Bush’s right-wing DC Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Miguel Estrada. Despite the loss, Senate Democrats are standing firm against Bush’s court-packing strategy; the chamber is embroiled in a third week of political stalemate.
Feminist and progressive groups throughout the country, including the National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, the US Hispanic Leadership Institute, and the United Farm Workers of America, are pledging continued persistence in opposing Estrada, who adamantly refuses to answer questions about his views. Last weekend, the White House, arguing that opposition to Estrada could cost Democrats Latino votes, urged Democrats to end the gridlock. However, Latina feminist activist Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, countered in the Oregonian, “I for one am not too proud of a man who is unconcerned about the discrimination that many Latinos live with every day. I am not especially proud of a man whose political friends—the ones fighting hardest to put him on the court—are also fighting to abolish affirmative action and to make it harder if not impossible for federal courts to protect the rights and safety of workers and women and anyone with little power and only the hope of the courts to protest their legal rights.” Meanwhile, the administration has not budged on releasing Estrada’s Justice Department memos.
The Feminist Majority joins the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in announcing a National Call-in Day, urging senators to oppose the Bush court-packing scheme and oppose Miguel Estrada as well as Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Jeffrey Sutton.
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. . . .