UN Commission Convenes to Discuss Empowering Women in Afghanistan and Worldwide
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women began its 46th session today at the UN headquarters in New York. During the two-week long session, the Commission will discuss empowering women worldwide. Included in this discussion will be the situation for women and girls in Afghanistan and measures to help ensure the eradication of all forms of discrimination against them. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has declared that the Afghan interim government may be called upon to ensure women’s participation in the loya jirga, to repeal orders that discriminate against women, and to bring to justice those responsible for committing “gross violations of women’s human rights in the past.”
The Commission will also focus on the effect of globalization on the status of women and strategies to empower women as a means of ending poverty. Women in conflict situations will also be considered, specifically woman and child hostages as well as the situation of Palestinian women refugees and the role that they can play in peace-building in the region.
Media Resources: United Nations Background Release, 3/1/02
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. . . .