Speaking at the Labor party’s annual conference in Brighton, England, British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged that Britain would not only be a part of a military coalition against the Taliban, but also a part of a humanitarian coalition. Acknowledging the plight of women and girls in Afghanistan as well as the deplorable living conditions there, Blair pledged that the humanitarian crisis would not be ignored. Blair’s remarks also suggested long-term solutions to the crisis for the Afghan people. Blair vowed that, “The conflict will not be the end. We will not walk away as the outside world has done so many times before.”
Blair’s address also highlighted Afghanistan as the major production center for heroin. Currently, the Taliban produces seventy percent of the world’s supply of the drug. Ninety percent of the heroin in Britain also comes from the Taliban. Most of the heroin in the United States also comes from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
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. . . .