The Immigration and Naturalization Service freed Fauziya Kasinga of Togo from jail and scheduled her precedent-setting request for U.S. political asylum on the grounds that she could face female genital mutilation (FGM) in her country to be heard in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest tribunal in the Immigration system, on May 2. Her release from prison is a temporary victory, but the final decision to grant asylum in the U.S. will not be made until May 2. Current grounds for asylum include escaping persecution based on religion, race, political opinion, or membership in a certain social group. Kasinga's lawyers are planning to argue that Kasinga and all other women who resist FGM are members of a endangered social group. Kasinga escaped Togo after learning that she was to marry a man, old enough to be her father, and to be forced to undergo genital mutilation. She served two years in prison in the U.S. while seeking political asylum here. Kasinga who was released from jail to a crowd of faithful supporters said, "There's nothing like freedom." Kasinga plans to go to college and later become an accountant. Kasinga's case drew strong support from several organizations who advocate human rights and women's rights, including the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Take Action: Help Fauziya Kasinga Escape Female Genital Mutilation!
April 24, 1996
Media Resources: The New York Times - April 25, 1996
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. . . .