Maryland Rape Survivors Testify in Guatemalan Court
Six Maryland college students gave testimony in a Guatemalan court yesterday concerning the robbery and assault of eighteen people and the brutal rape of five female students January 15th. Other students and staff will give testimony today.
The Maryland students and staff were visiting Guatemala in order to study the country's rich Mayan culture and were attacked by gang of five men in a sugar cane field alongside a major highway.
Carmen Shepard, Maryland's deputy attorney general stated "All of us involved in this case are very proud of the courageous students and their decision to return (to Guatemala). They are committed to co-operating with the process," she said.
According to Guatemalan attorney Fernando Linares, the students will not have to return to Guatemala to give further testimony, since their recent testimony will be admissible in the criminal trial.
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. . . .