Top Two Candidates in Chile's Presidential Race Are Women
Two women are leading for the presidential nomination of Chile's ruling coalition, for the first time ever. The women, Christian Democrat Soledad Alvear and Socialist Michelle Bachelet, are competing for the nomination of the center-left, multi-party coalition that has been in power in Chile since the end of General Pinochet’s regime in 1990, according to the New York Times. Both women would easily beat the presumptive opposition nominee, former Santiago Mayor Joaquin Lavin, according to opinion polls from Ipsos Chile. Lavin is a leader of the pro-Pinochet Independent Democratic Union, the Times reports.
Bachelet is the first woman to ever hold the position of Minister of Defense in any Latin American country. She and her mother both survived torture under the Pinochet regime in the 1970s – her father, a prominent general, was tortured to death in 1974. Bachelete previously served as the country’s Minister of Health.
“If you’d asked me a decade ago could a woman become president, I’d have had to say no flat out,” Alvear told the Times. Most recently serving as Chile’s Foreign Minister, she has been a cabinet minister in three consecutive governments, and is seen as more conservative on social and economic issues, according to the Times.
“I think that both of these women have emerged not so much because they are women but because of a vacuum and a disenchantment with politics… They are symbols for a Chilean electorate that wants new faces and a different way of doing politics,” said Marta Lagos, a public opinion analyst in Chile, according to the Times. Bachelet echoed this sentiment, telling the Times, “One reason we women have begun appearing as relevant figures is that we represent a type of humanization of politics, closer to how people see themselves.”
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. . . .