Two peace protests this week highlight some of the creativity behind the antiwar movement. Yesterday, more than 1,000 readings of the Greek pacifist play Lysistrata were held worldwide in an effort to raise funds for antiwar efforts and humanitarian aid for Iraqi citizens. Tomorrow, at least 300 colleges and high schools in the United States and abroad will take part in a student strike against the war, participating in a massive walkout, according to the New York Times.
Actors Kathryn Blume and Sharron Bowers founded the Lysistrata Project, billing it as a “theatrical act of dissent.” The play, a comedy written by Aristophanes around 400 BC, is a story of a group of women from opposing sides of the Peloponnesian War who unite to bring about peace by withholding sex from their husbands. The readings raised money for a variety of peace and humanitarian groups, and the readings were often held in conjunction with petition signings, candlelight vigils, and other events to support the antiwar movement. Readings in New York and Los Angeles included celebrities such as Christine Lahti, Kevin Bacon, and Kyra Sedgwick.
The student strike scheduled for tomorrow was organized by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (NYSPC). With the slogan “Books not Bombs! Stop the War Against Iraq!”, the group “demands something positive, instead of just saying ‘no,’ to war. This allows students to connect their concerns with the rest of the world,” journalist Liza Featherstone told students at Winona State University, according to the Winona Daily News. Students at colleges around the nation have also been rallying support through student council resolutions opposing an attack on Iraq. The NYSPC hopes to generate at least 50 student council resolutions and letters before the government precedes any further with military measures. According to Cities for Peace, 28 schools have already passed resolutions and almost 20 more have campaigns underway.
Media Resources: New York Times 3/1/03, 3/4/03; Washington Post 3/4/03; Los Angeles Times 3/4/03; National Youth and Student Peace Coalition; Cities for Peace website; Winona Daily News 2/24/03; Lysistrata Project
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. . . .