UN Investigator Confirms Gender Apartheid, Finds Little Hope for Women Living Under Taliban Regime
A United Nations human rights investigator presented evidence of systematic discrimination against women under the Taliban regime. Radhika Coomaraswamy, U.N. special rapporteur on violence against women, met with Taliban authorities, non-governmental organizations, refugees, and officials in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and concluded, "I don't have enough optimism to think that the situation of women will change in Afghanistan." Coomaraswamy pointed to the public beating and lashing of women accused of “moral” offenses, a ban on women's employment, and increasing levels of prostitution and begging. She noted that Taliban policy affects every aspect of women's lives, including their health, education, employment, movement and physical security. Coomaraswamy's recommendations to the UN Commission on Human Rights will include a call for the Taliban to withdraw all their edicts against women and to dismantle the Taliban’s Department of Propagation of Virtue and Suppression of Vice, the sex police responsible for carrying out the draconian policies of the Taliban.
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. . . .