Taliban militants in Kabul, Afghanistan beat a woman with a belt on the street as a crowd watched, witnesses said on January 16. A fighter from the militia said the woman was being punished for violating a strict Islamic dress code by leaving her ankles uncovered. Other women have been beaten publicly since September 27 when the Taliban took over the Afghan capital and decreed that women must cover themselves from head to toe in an expensive, restrictive garment called a burqa. The Taliban has also forbid women and girls from attending school and working. During the Ramadan holiday, restrictions are tighter. Women are allowed to leave their homes to attend a funeral, visit patients in hospitals, or to buy food, but are not to “go out of their houses without a legal excuse,” according to a document prepared for the Department for Promoting Virtue and Suppressing Vice.
Media Resources: The Nando Net and Reuters - January 16, 1997
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. . . .