Several Afghan women spoke yesterday on Capitol Hill at the Forum on the Future of Women in Afghanistan about the need for women to participate in the reconstruction process within Afghanistan once the Taliban has collapsed. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) hosted the forum, which was also attended by Feminist Majority leaders as well as Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and once again pledged her support for restoring Afghan women’s rights and political voice by giving women leadership roles in forging and participating in a new Afghan government. Clinton also addressed concerns that that U.S. would be promoting “cultural imperialism” by working to secure women’s rights in Afghanistan. The Senator stated unequivocally that, “We want to ensure that the women of Afghanistan have the opportunity to define their own future – and not to have it defined for them by us, or by men who want to oppress them.”
While praising Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV), Chris Dodd (D-CT), and Sam Brownback (R-KS) for their work for Afghan women, Clinton called on the Senate to pass legislation addressing women and the restoration of democracy in Afghanistan and urged the United States to aid the reconstruction process. “Now, we have a choice: we can help to sow the seeds of peace, freedom, and security in Afghanistan. Or we can step back and allow the seeds of lawlessness, repression, and instability to be sown by others.”
Afghan women have been participating in the United Nations talks on Afghanistan in Bonn and will convene next week in Brussels for the Afghan Women’s Summit for Democracy, hosted by a number of women’s rights organizations, including the Feminist Majority. To learn more about the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and to take action, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority; Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Press Release, 11/29/01
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. . . .