One week before the March for Women's Lives, leading women's groups released a scorecard grading the Bush Administration on issues affecting women around the world, finding the Bush Administration long on rhetoric but falling far short on reality. In announcing the grade of "C" for rhetoric and "F" for reality on international family planning and the global gag rule, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, asserted that the Bush administration’s international family planning policies such as the global gag rule are "desperately injuring the poorest women in developing nations." "Despite pledges that the US supports international family planning, President Bush has placed ideological restrictions on these programs and backed away from established international agreements that protect women and children’s health," said Smeal
Regarding the international women’s treaty (CEDAW), June Zeitlin, executive director of WEDO, said, “Despite public pledges to support women’s rights globally, the Bush Administration has not endorsed the CEDAW treaty for the rights of women or other international commitments to women’s human rights,” resulting in a grade of “C” for rhetoric and “F” for reality.
Jodi Jacobson, executive director of CHANGE, asserted that “most of the money spent on HIV/AIDS is going to abstinence only until marriage programs” leaving people with no access to condoms and other means to protect themselves. The Bush Administration also received a “D” for rhetoric and an “F” for reality for its withholding of UNFPA funding because the Administration has overruled “its own experts” who investigated and cleared China of abuses in its UNFPA programs and still withheld the $34 million that Congress appropriated for this critical UN family planning fund.
The Feminist Majority, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and the Communications Consortium Media Center (CCMC) previously released scorecards on the Bush Administration and global women’s issues in March, November, and August.
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. . . .