Hundreds of Afghan women protesting a new Shia family law that would severely restrict women's rights were outnumbered by hundreds of the law's supporters today in Kabul. Some of the women were pelted with small stones. Afghan civil rights and women's rights activists organized the protest, according to the The Guardian. In a statement, the groups said that the law "insults dignity of women as fellow human beings and increases ethnocentrism and inequality."
Masuma Hasani, a 14-year-old protester, told the Associated Press that "I am concerned about my future with this law….We want our rights. We don't want women to just be used." A counter-protester, 24-year-old Mariam Sajadi, told the Associated Press "we don't want foreigners interfering in our lives. They are the enemy of Afghanistan."
According to The Guardian the law contains provisions that would restrict women from leaving their homes, working, going to school, or obtaining medical care without their husbands' permission. The law also includes a provision that women cannot refuse their husbands sex and a provision that grants child custody only to men. Ustad Mohammad Akbari, leader of the Hazara party, told The Guardian that the law gives women the right to refuse sex with their husbands if they are ill or have a "reasonable excuse" and allows women the right to leave their homes without permission in an emergency.
This past weekend, Afghan Ambassador to the US Said Jawad told Bloomberg that the law "will not become the law because it contradicts some important principles of the Afghan constitution" and that President Karzai does not plan to publish it. Jawad also said Karzai signed the law without being aware of all of its provisions and has sent the likely unconstitutional law to be reviewed by the Afghan Ministry of Justice and the Afghan Supreme Court.
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 4/14/09; The Guardian 3/31/09, 4/15/09; The Associated Press 4/15/09; Bloomberg 4/11/09
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. . . .