Women's Activists Urge G-8 To Stop Military's Sexual Violence
An international network of women's activists from the United States and East Asian countries aim to expose U.S. military's involvement in multiple cases of rape and sexual abuse towards women and children. The pre-summit meeting, which prepared proposals that will be submitted at the upcoming Group of Eight summit in July, drew 40 delegates from South Korea, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the U.S., as well as 40 Okinawan activists.
Suzuyo Takazato heads the Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, an international organization which was founded after three U.S. servicemen gang-raped an Okinawan schoolgirl in 1995. Takazato stated, "Cases of sexual violence against women (perpetrated by U.S. military personnel) have been brushed aside as being just personal tragedies - which has forced the victims to remain silent." More international pressure is necessary to urge governments to end sexual violence caused by military personnel on or near military bases. The soon to be established International Criminal Court would serve as an indicator of governments' commitment to ending the cycle of violence targeting women and girls during conflict situations.
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. . . .