Bush Administration Declares Strong Support for Afghan Women
Stating that, “The women of Afghanistan have been the backbone of Afghan society,”
Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday called for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights and for the inclusion of women in the reconstruction of post-Taliban Afghanistan. “The recovery of Afghanistan must entail the restoration of the rights of Afghan women. Indeed, it will not be possible without them,” said Powell. “The rights of the women of Afghanistan will not be negotiable.” Powell also assured the American people that the Bush Administration would work to include women in “all aspects of the humanitarian, reconstruction, and development efforts that will be undertaken” in Afghanistan as well as in the new government of Afghanistan, which Powell strongly advised be “broad-based and representational.”
Some one hundred fifty people, including leaders of Afghan and American non-governmental organizations (NGOs), members of Congress, world ambassadors, and leaders of the Feminist Majority, including Eleanor Smeal, President, Mavis Leno, Chair of the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, and Jennifer Jackman, Director of the Campaign, attended the White House briefing on the State Department's report "The Taliban's War on Women." Undersecretary of Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, also spoke at the briefing and indicated that the State Department would be meeting with Afghan women to determine the form of the new Afghan government and to ensure universal rights for women.
Prior to the public meeting, Smeal, Leno, and Jackman met with Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor, and Karen Hughes, Counselor to the President. In a separate meeting, the three Feminist Majority leaders met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. In these private meetings, the government officials expressed their strong support for the campaign to restore women’s rights.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority; Relief Web Transcript, 11/19/01
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. . . .