Women Were Unable to Vote in Some Parts of Afghanistan
Reports indicate that many women were unable to vote in some parts of Afghanistan and that women's voting cards were used to stuff ballot boxes in the country's presidential election earlier this month. In some areas that are not controlled by the Taliban, however, women were nearly 60 percent of voters, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Overall, fewer women voted than in the 2004 national or 2005 parliamentary elections, reported To the Center. Women's participation was particularly low in Taliban controlled southern regions and in places where segregated women-only polling places did not open due to lack of staff.
Sabrina Saghib, who belongs to an Afghan parliamentary committee on women's rights, told the Washington Post, "Our constitution gives all men and women equal rights to vote, but in most areas that were not safe and secure, men did not let the women leave home and voted for them...is against the law and those votes should not be counted as women's votes." The high rate of proxy voting indicates wide potential for fraud.
Legislator Safia Siddiqui, from Nangahar province also told the Washington Post, "Everywhere I went before elections, I urged women in the villages to vote. But when the day came, even professional women in the city who normally felt free to go to work and shops and weddings stayed home. I was shocked...There has been a lot of talk about women's civic life and political movements, but security comes first."
Media Resources: Christian Science Monitor 8/21/09; Washington Post 8/31/09
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. . . .