President Bush Highlights Women's Rights in State of the Union
In his first State of the Union Address Tuesday night, President Bush highlighted gains made in recent months for women in Afghanistan. Pointing out that only a few months ago Afghan women and girls were not allowed to work or go to school, the President claimed that they were were now “free” and part of the new interim government. He recognized Hamid Karzai, the Afghan Interim Government Chairman, and Dr. Sima Samar, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Women’s Affairs, as his special guests at the State of the Union.
Also during his 48-minute speech, President Bush called for “respect for women” as part of “non-negotiable demands of human dignity” and recognized the heroic efforts of two women flight attendants, Hermis Moutadier and Christina Jones, who thwarted an Al Qaeda operative from blowing up an airplane using bombs he had hidden in his shoes.
Bush’s recognition of Chairman Karzai and Dr. Minister Samar capped off a 3-day trip by the Afghan interim government leaders here to discuss the future of Afghanistan. They met yesterday with US AID and U.S. State Department officials who announced the first U.S. funded programs for reconstruction. Dr. Samar also met with leaders of the Feminist Majority during her visit.
Media Resources: NBC and Feminist Majority, 1/29/02
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. . . .