Pakistan Passes Stronger Sexual Harassment Penalties
Pakistan's National Assembly passed a law increasing the penalty for sexual harassment yesterday. The law now moves to the country's senate, where it faces another vote. If the law is passed, it would increase the penalty guidelines for sexual harassment from one year to three years in prison and would add a fine of up to 500,000 Pakistani rupees ($6,000), United Press International reports.
MP and former information minister Sherry Rehman, who has worked for laws protecting women's rights, told the BBC "This bill will be especially empowering for women who work as domestic workers." The law would also allow sexual harassment cases to go to higher courts.
This law is the latest legislative development to further women's rights since a new government took power last year. According to United Press International, another law was passed recently that provides financial and other assistance to those who have experienced domestic violence including women, the elderly, children, and servants. Earlier this year, Inter Press Service reported that Pakistan took steps to pass a law criminalizing domestic violence.
Media Resources: United Press International 11/4/09; BBC News 11/5/09; Inter Press Service 9/7/09
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. . . .