At least 33 Iranian women activists were arrested yesterday during a peaceful protest in Tehran. The women are members of a group called Mourning Mothers, which was formed after the widely publicized death of Neda Agha-Soltan last summer. Members of the group are mothers of protestors who have been killed, detained, or are missing. According to the Straits Times, the women regularly gather in the park where they were arrested to protest, typically wearing black as a sign of mourning.
According to the Mourning Mothers website, an unidentified witness said, "They would not allow anyone to even sit on the benches or congregate...After about 70 mothers entered the park, security forces engaged them and started chasing them, grabbing them, and forcing them into police vans. They used a lot of violence and insults in the process," reported CNN.
Arrests continue in Iran against women's activists. In December, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi's sister; a professor in dentistry, Noushin Ebadi; Mansoureh Shojaee, a founder of the One Million Signatures campaign for women's equality in Iran; and Morteza Kazemian, a journalist, were arrested by Ministry of Intelligence agents. Somayeh Rashidi, also with the One Million Signatures Campaign, was also targeted with a search of her home and a summons to court.
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. . . .