Air Force Academy Leadership Failed to Act on Sexual Assaults
An investigation by the Denver Post found that Air Force Academy brass and board members failed to act aggressively to protect female cadets from a pattern of sexual assault over the past 20 years. The leadership, which has included members of Congress and some of the most respected military personnel in the country, was first told of the assaults in 1983 but did not aggressively investigate the problem of sexual misconduct, focusing instead on the routine business of the academy and on maintaining its reputation, according to the Post.
The Post's review of meeting minutes and reports by the Board of Visitors from the past 25 years, along with interviews with current and former board members, staff members, and former cadets, show that lack of commitment and the brass's urge to protect the image of the Academy prevented board members from genuinely addressing the problem. Members of the board felt they lacked authority to exercise aggressive oversight of the Academy and didn't want to antagonize the staff. Many of them never even attended a board meeting. Academy brass also failed to disclose to the board the real extent and number of the assaults, the Post reports.
Other studies, recently released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the Air Force Academy has been a hostile environment for women ever since they arrived on campus in 1976. But before this year, when allegations of sexual assault were widely reported in the press, all the board's annual reports to the President were positive, never mentioning rape or sexual assault or calling for any investigation, according to the Associated Press.
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. . . .