Taliban Edict Threatens Humanitarian Aid to Millions
The Taliban's edict forbidding Afghan women from working for international and national humanitarian organizations may have a devastating impact for the millions of women and children living in poverty in Afghanistan. Before this latest edict, humanitarian aid organizations had obtained exemptions to the Taliban's ban on women from working. With one of the worst droughts the country has ever faced, Afghanistan is suffering from a severe food shortage, and the United Nations estimates that 25% of the 1.8 million residents of Kabul are dependent on aid for survival. The UN began negotiations with Taliban officials to reverse this restrictive edict over 3 weeks ago, with talks continuing over the weekend. Meanwhile, the UN warned all Afghan women working for international aid organizations in Taliban-controlled regions to stay home, in fear of brutal retaliation by the Taliban militia. The United States, argues the Boston Globe, should help end the Taliban's brutal treatment of women by putting pressure on Pakistan, one of the few countries that supports the Taliban, and concentrate on ending gender apartheid rather than targeting the Taliban's harboring of terrorist Osama bin Laden. The Feminist Majority Foundation has been working, through the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, to end gender apartheid in Afghanistan and to provide assistance to Afghan refugees and to the women and girls in Afghanistan living under virtual house arrest.
Media Resources: Boston Globe, Editorials - August 6, 2000 and Associated Press, World News - August 4, 2000 and August 3, 2000
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. . . .