MI: Anti-Affirmative Action Measure Will be on 2006 Ballot
The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that the Board of State Canvassers should approve petitions that would put an initiative to end affirmative action on the November 2006 ballot. The elections board had neither approved nor rejected the petitions this summer, as there was a tie vote, and the misleadingly named Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) took this lack of decision to court. Opponents of the proposal believe that a significant number of signatures for the initiative were obtained by misrepresentation, according to the Detroit Free Press.
MCRI, an effort being led by former University of California regent Ward Connerly, proposes a ballot initiative that would end almost all government-sponsored affirmative action programs for women and people of color. Wade Henderson, the executive director of the Leadership Council on Civil Rights (LCCR), said "Ward Connerly's deliberately deceptive ballot initiative would effectively roll back the promise of equal opportunity for women and minorities in Michigan. Further, it is an attempt to subvert the 2003 Supreme Court decision (Grutter v. Bollinger) to uphold equal opportunity across the country." LCCR is joined by many civil rights and women's rights groups in One United Michigan, a coalition aiming to defend affirmative action in Michigan.
Connerly led the unfortunately successful Proposition 209 campaign in California, which was opposed by a broad coalition of women's rights and civil rights groups, including the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, the YWCA, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. As the Michigan initiative is attempting to do, Proposition 209 effectively ended affirmative action in government hiring, public contracting, and college admissions in California.
Media Resources: Detroit Free Press 11/1/05, 11/2/05; Press Release from Leadership Council on Civil Rights
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. . . .