US House Approves Afghanistan Aid Bill with Provisions for Afghan Women and Girls
The US House of Representatives voted 406 to 10 yesterday to pass an omnibus bill that will provide security and economic assistance to Afghanistan and will limit funds given to warlords in high-level offices. The bill includes the major provisions of the Afghan Women's Empowerment Act, including the authorization for three years of $5 million for the Afghan Ministry for Women's Affairs, $10 million for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, and $30 million for Afghan-led non-governmental organizations that are providing assistance to Afghan women and girls.
Norma Gattsek, director of government relations and global programs at the Feminist Majority, said of the House's vote, "This bill finally recognizes the dire conditions for Afghan women and girls, who are under constant attack by fundamentalists who want to deprive them of their rights. The Feminist Majority has worked long and hard to pass legislation to address their critical needs and to increase humanitarian and reconstruction assistance for Afghanistan, of which so much was promised and so little has been given." funny picturesfunny imagesfunny photosfunny animal picturesfunny dog picturesfunny cat picturesfunny gifs
The bill authorizes a $6.4 billion aid package with measures aimed to decrease the flow of money to corrupt government officials and drug lords. The White House has already expressed discontent, saying that these measures will set "an unrealistically high bar" and will limit the president's power to act in Afghanistan, the AP reports. A companion bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced soon.
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. . . .