Women's Marine Team Conducts First Mission in Afghanistan
A team of all-female marines who are part of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force in Afghanistan has conducted their first mission. The team mirrors similar operations in Iraq and was formed because it is culturally taboo for male marines to interact with Afghan women.
The team's leader, 2nd Lieutenant Johanna Shaffer, said in a press release that "We were accepted by both the men and women villagers and were able to obtain valuable information about the way they lived and what they thought about the Marine Corps operating in the area…We also do not know much about the daily life of Afghan women. This provides us not only the opportunity to learn about the women, but also to build and maintain faith and trust of the Afghan women."
Marine Corps Captain Mike Hoffman said that the team "provides us access to half of the population that we normally do not have access to. [The team] did extremely well interacting with the female villagers."
Media Resources: American Forces Press Service 3/10/09
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. . . .