Bush Administration Publicizes Plight of Afghan Women
The Bush Administration has launched a new initiative to publicize the brutal treatment of Afghan women and girls by the Taliban regime. Events include meetings with women’s leaders, a Saturday radio address by First Lady Laura Bush, and release of a U.S. State Department report on gender apartheid by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Pleased that the Administration is focusing attention on the suffering of women under the Taliban, feminists expressed hopes that the Administration also soon will publicly state support for the inclusion of Afghan women leaders in the planning and implementation of post-Taliban reconstruction and government. When asked about the New York Times report that “administration officials said they would not publicly insist at this point that women be included in talks about a post-Taliban coalition government. They wanted to walk a careful line between encouraging reform and imposing Western values on Islamic society,” Undersecretary of Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky in a meeting today assured women’s groups of the Administration’s commitment to the inclusion of women’s leadership in post-Taliban Afghanistan.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said, “Women were members of parliament, judges and cabinet officials in Afghanistan’s past. Women’s participation in civil society is not an imposition of Western values, but rather basic human rights and a part of Afghanistan’s history.”
“The world now understands that women were the first victims of the Taliban. We now must make the world understand that women are the solution for the future of a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan,” continued Smeal.
Media Resources: New York Times 11/16/01; Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .