Thousands of Girls Raped And Enslaved In Sierra Leone
The raping and enslavement of women and children were rampant during Sierra Leone's eight years of civil war, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch and U.N. groups. Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels seized and repeatedly raped girls as young as 10 years of age, coercing them into sexual slavery and often infecting them with sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. Although last July's peace accord sparked false hope for an end to the atrocities against women, the rebels' instigation of conflict in May has again endangered the lives of women and children. In Freetown alone, more than 4,500 children - nearly 60 percent girls - were reported missing after RUF's invasion in 1995.
Media Resources: Associated Press, Washington Post, 27 June 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. . . .