According to the Outline for the Development of Chinese Children (2011-2020), released today, China will strengthen its efforts to end sex-selective abortions as a means to close the country's gender gap. The Outline states that "using ultrasonic techniques to conduct non-medical sex determination" is strictly banned in order to "eliminate discrimination against girls."
Due in part to the country's policy restricting families to one child, China has a male-to-female birth ratio of 119 male children for every 100 female children born. In certain provinces, the ratio is 130 males to 100 females born.
In June, the UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WHO, and OHCHR issued a statement about sex-selective abortion: "Sex selection in favour of boys is a symptom of pervasive social, cultural, political, and economic injustices against women, and a manifest violation of women's human rights....There is a huge pressure on women to produce sons...which not only directly affects women's reproductive decisions, with implications for their health and survival, but also puts women in a position where they must perpetuate the lower status of girls through son preference."
Media Resources: Washington Post 8/8/11; Sacramento Bee 8/8/11; Xinhuanet.com 8/8/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/15/11
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. . . .