Report 300 Pakistani Women Burned to Death Annually
A report issued by the Progressive Women's Association (PWA) reveals that about 300 Pakistani women are burned to death each year by their husbands or their husbands' families, and the violence is increasing.
According to PWA co-coordinator Shahnaz Bukhari, domestic violence is rampant in Pakistan. "Every second, a Pakistani woman is the victim or a direct or indirect form of mental or physical violence, leading to heinous crimes against them including rape, murder, chopping of limbs or being burned alive," declared Bukhari.
Yet the police rarely file charges. Some families will claim that a wife was killed by an exploding stove or another burning accident. "They opt for burning because the chances of prosecution are less," explained Anne Kleening of the United Nations gender program in Pakistan.
The PWA will submit its report, which documents the murders of over a dozen women in graphic detail, to Pakistan's Parliament. The group will also launch an intensive campaign to pressure lawmakers into drafting legislation which would create and fund domestic violence shelters and provide women with legal and financial assistance. PWA is also urging hospitals to allocate resources toward the treatment of burn victims.
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. . . .