Indian Women Protest “Unprecedented Violence” in Gujarat
Thousands of women in state capitals throughout India – including New Delhi and Chennai – demonstrated yesterday, denouncing the violence committed against women in Gujarat following the religious riots in late February. The protests, which included sit-ins and public meetings, highlighted the continued reluctance of Gujarat police to register complaints of sexual abuse. Brinda Karat, general-secretary of the prominent women’s group All India Democratic Women’s Association, explained, “The law usually requires a medical report to determine rape. But in a situation like Gujarat, medical reports are not there because women who have been sexually abused have had no access to doctors.”
Many women’s rights groups called Gujarat a display of “unprecedented violence.” Eight hundred people died during the religious rioting. According to Sehba Farroqi, head of the National Federation of Indian Women, “…in the carnage, hundreds of women were killed or raped.” In its report released in April, the anti-sectarian campaigns group Communalism Combat estimated 3,000 Muslim deaths – 250 to 300 of which were also rape victims. Various women’s and human rights groups, including Joint Women’s Programme, Saheli, The Muslim Women’s Forum, and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, called for justice in Gujarat.
Media Resources: OneWorld.net, 5/14/02; BBC News, 4/26/02
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. . . .