Female Genital Mutilation Continues Underground in Tanzania
Those seeking to abolish female genital mutilation (FGM) in Tanzania confront new obstacles as communities practicing FGM begin to carry out the practice underground. This recent underground movement has formed in reaction to the 1998 Sexual Offenses Act which makes genital mutilation of young women under 18 a federal offense. According to a recent World Health Organization report, two million females face potential mutilation of their genitals each year. Between 85 and 115 million women and girls worldwide have already undergone FGM, which involves the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia.
Female genital mutilation continues among many countries of the world including those in Africa due to cultural myths surrounding the practice that view it as a mark of chastity, a rite of passage into womanhood, and a link to increased fertility. Women that undergo the painful sewing of their vagina and or removal of clitoris face the risk of death from excessive bleeding or infection. For those who survive, further complications can occur during childbirth as scar tissue blocks the birth canal.
Media Resources: Africa News (http://www.allafrica.com) 16 August 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. . . .