UN Negotiator, Afghan Minister Hold Press Conference
Mr. Martin Griffiths, head of the U.N.'s negotiating team, and Afghanistan's Acting Minister of Planning, H.E. Maulvi Qari Din Mohammad, recently held a joint press conference in Kabul to discuss their recent 10-day period of negotiations.
The two discussed the immunities and privileges of U.N. staff, women's access to healthcare and education, employment of international Muslim women, and the areas of Afghanistan that are currently plagued by fighting, including Bamiyan.
Mohammad and Griffiths both agreed that they would seek to maintain good relationships between the U.N., Afghanistan officials, and organizations providing aid to the region. Mohammed stated that women's access to education is an Islamic issue that could be made only by the group of religious scholars appointed by both sides. Mohammed denied that the Taliban blocked the Bamiyan area off from U.N. and relief workers, claiming that a main road from Mazar-i-Sharif provides open access to the area.
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. . . .