Women's Fingers Cut Off in Afghan Election Violence
The Taliban allegedly cut off the fingers of at least two Afghan women that voted in last week's presidential election. Election officials confirmed that the two women voted in the southern province of Kandahar and that they are investigating reports of a third incident in the eastern part of the country, reported Los Angeles Times. Voters' right index fingers were dipped in ink in an intended fraud prevention measure.
Violence against women also preceded the election. According to the New York Times, women candidates were unable to campaign in certain parts of the country due to security concerns. Only three women ran for the four women-reserved seats on Kandaharís provincial council. None of the women lived in Kandahar during their campaigns. In April, Sitara Achakzai, a Kandahar provincial council member and women's rights activist, was murdered by gunmen outside her home. Another woman on the Kandahar provincial council, Zarghona Kakar, had survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in 2007.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 8/23/09; Associated Press 8/24/09; National Democratic Institute 8/22/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/13/09; New York Times 8/22/09
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .