UNFPA Provides Assistance to Central American Flood Survivors
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been dispatching reproductive health care service providers and necessary resources to Central America, where approximately 1.2 million people have been affected by severe flooding. UNFPA has set up two mobile health centers and distributed over 5,000 kits, which include soap, sanitary pads, and towels, in El Salvador to reach the approximately 300,000 people impacted by the floods. UNFPA is also dispatching doctors and nurses to travel to Guatemala to provide vital maternal health care services.
UNFPA notes "In the aftermath of such natural disasters, women and young people may be left unaccompanied - out in the open or in temporary shelters - as chaos and breakdown in policing could lead to increased lawlessness and attacks. In these circumstances, sexual violence may become widespread." UNFPA is also deploying professionals to assist sexual violence survivors in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
On October 5, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted along party lines to pass a bill to defund the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The vote was 23 to 17, with all 23 Republicans present voting in favor of blocking US funding to UNFPA and all of the Democrats voting against the measure.
Media Resources: UNFPA 11/3/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 10/13/11
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. . . .