Police clashed with a group of 100 women protestors outside a courthouse where Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein's trial for wearing pants commenced yesterday. Witnesses say police sprayed the women with tear gas and beat several women with batons. One of Hussein's lawyers, Manal Awad Khogali, was among those attacked, according to the Associated Press.
Al-Hussein and 13 other women were arrested on July 3 for wearing pants in public and sentenced to public flogging. As an information officer for the United Nations, al-Hussein had immunity to the sentence, but chose to resign from her job in order to challenge the law. Yesterday, the judge adjourned the trial until September 7 to investigate the status of al-Hussein's immunity, reports the Telegraph.
Hussein told the Telegraph, "I am not afraid of being flogged. I will not back down. I want to stand up for the rights of women, and now the eyes of the world are on this case, I have a chance to draw attention to the plight of women in Sudan." Flogging is a common sentence endured by many Sudanese women.
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. . . .