Israeli Women Could Face Seven Years in Jail for Praying
The Israeli parliament yesterday
attempted to override a recent
Israeli Supreme Court decision
granting women greater religious
showed support for a bill that
would ban women from wearing
prayer shawls, reading from
Torah scrolls, and participating
in other religious rituals at
Jerusalem's Western Wall, under
penalty of a seven-year jail term.
The bill aims to block last
week's Supreme Court decision
giving a women's prayer group
the right to pray at the Western
Wall, which is already divided
into women's and men's
sections. While the bill is unlikely
to become law, women's rights
activists and liberal
parliamentarians reacted strongly
to its introduction, saying it
"undermines Israel's democracy
and undercuts women's rights."
Liberal parliamentarian Naomi
Chazzan called the measure
"frightening," and vowed that her
party "will do everything to
prevent Israel from turning into
an Afghanistan or Iran."
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. . . .