NGOs and Members of Congress Criticize Bush’s AIDS Initiative
The Feminist Majority last week joined more than 130 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in writing a letter to President Bush stressing the importance of integrated family planning and HIV/AIDS education, Kaisernetwork.org reported. “At this critical time it is urgent to eliminate barriers to effective programs not erect new ones. We therefore oppose any expansion of the ‘Mexico City’ policy [also known as the global gag rule] and urge the Administration in the strongest possible terms to abandon its plan to expand these restrictions in any form,” the letter stated.
Twenty members of Congress reiterated the call with a signed letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, terming the President’s expansion of the Mexico City policy “a very grave and costly mistake.” The members warned that “Such a policy… will also make authorization of a comprehensive global AIDS bill in Congress a difficult proposition,” according to the Advocate.
This week, the Feminist Majority joins Population Action International (PAI), a DC-based health advocacy group, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) at a press briefing, entitled “International Women’s Health in Crisis” at the National Press Club. The 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. session this Thursday will cover topics such as the impact of the global gag rule on reproductive health services, the maternal and child mortality rates in Afghanistan, HIV prevention programs, contraceptives supplies, and unsafe abortion as a public health issue. Attendance is open to the public.
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. . . .