Turkish Girls Attempt Suicides to Avoid Virginity Tests
Human rights groups are outraged by the recent attempted suicides of five girls who wanted to avoid virginity tests in Turkey. The five girls, ages 12-16, chose to take rat poison and jump into a vat of water rather than face forced virginity tests. The girls survived and the tests were performed in the hospital.
Virginity tests, a centuries-old tradition in Turkey, are performed to measure a woman’s purity and loyalty to her family. Suicides are also commonplace, since the virginity test is often times inaccurate. Dilek Cindoglu, a sociologist who has studied the tests, said that “patriarchal control over women’s bodies has been reproduced through honor and shame codes.”
Recent controversy over the virginity tests arose when Isilay Saygin, state minister in charge of female and family affairs, supported government examinations of girls in state-run foster homes, stating the tests were needed to guide young women’s behavior. Human Rights Watch recently reported that the government was conducting virginity tests being run on hospital patients and prisoners.
Media Resources: Washington Post - January 27, 1998
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. . . .