The Moroccan government earlier this week, announced plans to change a law that allows rapists to avoid prosecution by marrying their victim if she is underage. On Monday, Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid announced that the ministry of justice supported a proposal to change the outdated law and to consider tougher sentences for rapists.
The current law, Article 475, makes it a criminal offense to "abduct or deceive" anyone under the age of 18 into sexual acts against their will and makes these offenses punishable by up to 5 years in prison, so long as the offenses are committed without violence. Article 475 also currently provides that a rapist cannot be prosecuted if they marry their victim. In some cases, a rape victims are forced to marry their attackers by their families in order to protect the family's honor.
Khadija Ryadi, president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, told reporters "Changing this article is a good thing but it doesn't meet all of our demands. ...The penal code has to be totally reformed because it contains many provisions that discriminate against women and doesn't protect women against violence."
Morocco's Article 475 came under international scrutiny in 2012, when a 16 year old girl committed suicide after being forced to marry her rapist, who was almost a decade older than her.
Media Resources: BBC 1/23/2013; Huffington Post 1/23/2013; International Business Times 1/23/2013
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. . . .