UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, stated, "These encouraging findings show that social norms and cultural practices are changing, and communities are uniting to protect the rights of girls and women. We call on the global community to join us in this critical effort. Together, we can end FGM/C in one generation and help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives, and reach their potential."
In 2011, the UNFPA reports that 18,000 community education sessions were held to discourage FGM/C. As a result, almost 2,000 communities renounced FGM/C practices that year alone in Burkina Faso, Dijbouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, and Somalia.
Internationally, an estimated 100 million to 140 million women and girls have undergone an FGM procedure, with the practice widely being regarded as a human rights violation. The procedure, which involves the partial or total removal of external genitalia, is designed to decrease women's sexual desire and is seen in many cultures as essential for a women's suitability for marriage. The practice is also known to both increase the risk of HIV transmission and infant and maternal mortality rates.
Media Resources: UNFPA Statement 2/6/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/2/12
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. . . .