Aware of the harsh Afghan winter rapidly approaching and pre-famine conditions, the Bush administration announced today $100 million in new Afghan relief aid. However, this is only a fraction of the $538 million requested by U.N. agencies to provide emergency assistance for Afghan refugees. To meet the U.N. appeal to donor nations, some 40% must come from the U.S. Currently, there are roughly over 7 million Afghan refugees – 3.5 million in Pakistan, 1.5 million in Iran, and 1 million in other neighboring countries, along with millions more who are displaced within Afghanistan and are likely to attempt to flee. Seventy-five percent of refugees are women and children. U.S. officials are also looking at ways to airlift food and supplies into some of the most remote areas of Afghanistan where it is estimated that millions do not have enough food to last through the winter. Humanitarian aid is essential to save lives, prevent destabilization of Pakistan, and to cause defection from the Taliban.
The Feminist Majority is conducting a massive campaign urging more humanitarian aid, the restoration of women’s rights, and the establishment of democracy as a part of any long-range solution to terrorism. “Remember the young boys and men refugees are supplying the Taliban with soldiers,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “Desperate conditions breed extremism. Humanitarian aid is needed for people to survive and to stop terrorism.”
To learn more about the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and find out how you can help, visit www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
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. . . .