Amnesty: US Fails to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Assault
A new Amnesty International report finds that one in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime, twice the national average for non-Native women. The report, "Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women in the USA," is based on research carried out by Amnesty International USA during 2005 and 2006 in Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Alaska.
Authors of the report concluded that the high rate of rape results primarily from a lack of government funding, limited staffing, and confusion regarding tribal and county jurisdiction in cases of sexual assault. Even when reported, many of these rape cases fail to be prosecuted because, even though over 86 percent of rapes against Native women are committed by non-Native men, tribal councils have no jurisdiction over non-Native offenders, the US Department of Justice reports.
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. . . .