With conditions in Afghanistan still described as unstable, American soldiers will take over President Hamid Karzai’s personal security detail, Karzai’s Spokesman Said Tayab Jawab announced yesterday. Karzai made this decision in light of the assassination of vice president Haji Abdul Qadir in full daylight in Kabul earlier this month and the pervasive chaos and violence that continues to plague the country. “Whatever successes we may have witnessed so far in Afghanistan…a single act or event can send fear down the spines of the most powerful people in Afghanistan and has the potential to seriously destabilize the situation,” United Nations Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council in a speech last week, according to the New York Times.
This move highlights a need for international peacekeepers to expand their role in Afghanistan to maintain order – a plea that has been presented repeatedly to the Bush administration by the Feminist Majority, women’s rights groups, humanitarian groups, the Afghan government and the United Nations. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) echoed this plea in the name of the women of Afghanistan in a statement on the Senate floor yesterday.
“Violence against women remains pervasive, and they have no recourse or protection. Aid workers, foreigners and Afghan women and children have been targeted for robberies, assault and rape. Women’s rights in Afghanistan will not be secure if there is no law and order,” Reid said. “Interim President Hamid Karzai has requested more international troops to help maintain order across the country. Afghan women say they feel safer when international peacekeeping troops are present. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for more peacekeepers. Democrats and Republicans alike have called for more peacekeepers in Afghanistan. And yet the Bush administration has not yet committed to increasing the number of troops engaged in peacekeeping and reuses to allow the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to operate outside the capital city of Kabul.”
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. . . .