Anti-Women’s Rights Pamphlets in Afghanistan Threaten Reprisals
Anti-women’s rights, handwritten pamphlets have been found in Kandahar, a former Taliban stronghold. According to a traveler quoted by Reuters, the pamphlets read, “Stop sending your women to offices and daughters to schools. It spreads indecency and vulgarity.” The pamphlet then issues the warning, “Stand ready for the consequences if you do not heed the advice.” These pamphlets have incited fear in Kandahar, a city that was the “spiritual center” for the Taliban and the home of Mullah Mohammad Omar. Threatening pamphlets have also appeared in other cities. Pamphlets in Spinbodak, on the border of Chaman, warn, “The American forces will leave the country sooner or later, but you will remain here…People helping Afghan security forces are being marked.”
The threat of violence is very real in Afghanistan, where warlords are exercising power in various regions of the country and imposing Taliban-like restrictions, especially on women. The Feminist Majority is leading the call in the U.S. to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), currently only 4800 peace troops confined to Kabul, to help ensure Afghan women’s security and the restoration of their rights, the reconstruction of the country, and the establishment of democracy. Despite pleas from the United Nations and the Afghan Interim Administration, however, the Bush Administration has refused to allow an expansion of the ISAF. UN and Afghan officials believe that the immediate expansion of the ISAF is absolutely essential to disarmament, de-escalation of conflicts among warlords, preservation of women’s rights and human rights, delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the success of the loya jirga process.
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. . . .