President Bush signed into law the Medicare Prescription Drug and Modernization Act yesterday. According to the Washington Post, Democrats contend that the bill does not do enough for seniors and could lead to the privatization of Medicare. Women's groups are concerned that the bill will cause millions to lose their employer-sponsored health insurance and will face higher premiums.
According to the Boston Globe, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) called the bill the most "anti-senior, anti-disabled, anti-Medicare, antifamily, anti-worker" piece of legislation in the country's history."
As women account for more than 70 percent of the elderly poor and comprise the majority of those who are on both Medicare and Medicaid, women will suffer the greatest impact of these proposed changes. The National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO) has joined with OWL and other women's organizations, including the Feminist Majority, and consumer and labor organizations in opposition to this legislation.
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. . . .