The U.S. Senate will consider the Afghan Women and Children Relief Act of 2001. The bill, introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and co-sponsored by every woman Senator, would authorize the use of funds for educational and healthcare assistance for Afghan women and children living inside Afghanistan or as refugees in neighboring countries. Acknowledging the efforts of Afghan women to resist the Taliban and its draconian decrees, the bill calls on the President to ensure that assistance is provided through “indigenous institutions and nongovernmental organizations, especially women’s organizations, to the extent possible.”
Under the Taliban, women have been subject to a brutal system of gender apartheid. Women are banned from school, prohibited from working, and forbidden to leave their homes without a close male relative and without wearing the head-to-toe burqa shroud. The Taliban’s decrees have caused a virtual collapse of the educational and healthcare systems in Afghanistan, as women were the vast majority of educators and healthcare workers before the Taliban’s rise. Afghanistan now has one of the highest infant, child, and maternal mortality rates in the world.
The Feminist Majority is leading a massive campaign aimed at increasing humanitarian aid, the restoration of Afghan women’s rights, and the re-establishment of a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan. Find out how you can join the Feminist Majority’s campaign to help Afghan women. Log on to 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. . . .