Pentagon Questioned About Sexual Assaults in Military
Both Democrat and Republican Senators questioned top Pentagon officials and officers last week about the military's failure to protect servicewomen from sexual assault, to provide the proper medical treatment and counseling to victims, and to punish the violators. According to the New York Times, military officials have reported 112 reports of sexual misconduct over the past year and a half in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. The New York Times has reported that the servicewomen's complaints have ranged from incomplete investigations to lack of emergency rape kits and medical care.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) stated that he is concerned because he doesn't "feel a sense of outrage by military leadership, not at this point at least," according to the NY Times. According to the LA Times, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered a high-level review of the reports of sexual assaults and the care that was provided to the victims.
Women make up approximately 15 percent of the overall military and about 10 percent of US troops currently in Iraq.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .