Despite the legalization of abortion in Nepal last September fifty women remain imprisoned on abortion and related offenses. Sapana Pradhan Malla, Chief of Forum for Women, Law and Development told Spotlight, "As the new legislation does not have the provision for retrospective affect, it will apply only to the new cases." The women—most of who are illiterate, poor, and have suffered miscarriage or stillborn births—continue to serve harsh sentences under charges of "infanticide."
Nepal has the fourth highest maternal death rate in the world—539 out of 100,000 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications. The United Nations estimates that 50 percent of these women die from illegal abortions. The global gag rule in part may hinder the provision of much-needed safe abortion services in Nepal. Many of the organizations serving poor and rural women will face a tough decision between accepting US funds and meeting this particular health need.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .