Eve Enslerís Tribute to Afghan Women is a Sold Out Success at Madison Square Garden
V-Day, the gala benefit performance of Eve Enslerís The Vagina Monologues, opened to a sold out crowd of 18,000 at Madison Square Gardens Saturday evening. Actors and musicians, including Jane Fonda (who donated $1 million to the event), Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Rosie Perez, Claire Danes, and Queen Latifah, performed the Monologues, raising awareness to stop violence against women. As part of the V-day festivities, Oprah Winfrey performed Enslerís tribute to Afghan women, entitled Under the Burqa.
In 1996, the Taliban, overthrew the government of Afghanistan and unilaterally declared an end to women's basic human rights. Women can now no longer work outside of the home. Girls and women are prohibited from attending school. In addition, women are required to completely cover their bodies with a burqa including a mesh covering over the eyes. Ensler wrote Under the Burqa after visiting Afghanistan 8 months ago. During the evening, thousands of people signed petitions for the Feminist Majorityís Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. Many in the audience wore burqa swatches as a symbol of remembrance for Afghan women and girls.
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. . . .