Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation joined Women for Afghan Women in a press conference, on the same day President Obama is announcing the new US policies for Afghanistan and Pakistan, to keep in focus the plight of Afghan women and girls.
In a statement, Smeal said, "We must not forget the horrific human rights abuses toward women and girls that have been and are being committed by the Taliban. In the past several years, hundreds of girls' schools have been destroyed. Teachers have been murdered - some right in front of their students. Girls are being attacked with acid thrown in their faces on their way to or from school. Atrocities are regularly committed by Taliban forces against women. And we cannot forget, when Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban, women and girls were not allowed to be educated, employed, go outside their homes without the company of a close male relative, go to a male doctor (female doctors were forbidden to work), or go to a hospital. Girl babies were even forbidden treatment by male doctors. Women were beaten and killed for violations of intolerable restrictions."
President Obama announced in March a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that will provide not only military assistance, but also "a greater civilian commitment to the Afghan people." He pledged we will "support the basic human rights of all Afghans - including women and girls."
Smeal also said, "We believe for any campaign to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan humanitarian and development programs of education, health care, and employment, especially for women and girls, who compose the majority of Afghans, are essential...We believe that the new strategy about to be announced must increase the humanitarian and development programs for Afghanistan. To establish the conditions for a lasting peace, Afghanistan must be rebuilt and the basic building blocs of a civil society must be restored. President Bush promised a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan. In the long run, rebuilding Afghanistan is not only the moral solution, but also the more economical solution."
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. . . .