World leaders from over 70 countries met in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday for an International Conference on Afghanistan,with the goal of helping the war-torn country restore itself economically, socially and politically. Among the attendees were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Secretary Clinton spoke of US support for the country and expressed a need for "an Afghanistan that is stable, peaceful and secure is in everyone's interest, particularly women and children," but that this goal said "cannot come at the cost of women," according to the Agence France Presse.
"I speak from experience when I say that the work of Afghan women and civil society groups will be essential to this country's success," Clinton told conference participants, reported Agence France Presse. At the same time, Clinton expressed faith that the Afghan government will improve and promised assistance from the US. "We have no intention of abandoning our long-term mission of achieving a stable, secure, peaceful Afghanistan," she said, according to BBC. "Too many nations - especially Afghanistan - have suffered too many losses to see this country slide backward."
Media Resources: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Agence France Presse 7/20/10; Guardian 7/19/10; BBC 7/20/10
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. . . .