Three hundred Afghan demonstrators staged an anti-US, anti-British protest in Kabul today-the capital's first since the Taliban fell in 2001. Shouting sentiments like, "We want Islam to rule. We want security. [The US and Britain] have failed to bring it to us and we want them out," the protesters confirmed warnings that religious fundamentalism is on the rise in Afghanistan, according to Reuters. The demonstration, led by native philosopher Sediq Afghan's "Scientific Center," insisted that international donors have repeatedly failed to deliver what they promised: security, economic growth, and infrastructure construction. For example, progress on the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway remains slow, with the project suffering a series of setbacks including inadequate funding, complex management, and equipment failure, according to the Boston Globe.
As US Army Lt. Gen. Dan K. McNeill gave indication last week to the Los Angeles Times that coalition forces could leave Afghanistan beginning summer 2004, reports by the Associated Press and the New York Times depict an increasingly unstable security situation throughout the country. Last week, a council comprised of 350 Islamic scholars passed a resolution urging working Afghan women to wear the hijab, a head scarf and long dress, and said publications violating Islamic values should be punished, reported the AP. In areas bordering Pakistan, fundamentalist groups are holding regular meetings, calling for the restoration of an Islamic government, according to the NY Times. Throughout the rest of the country, militias continue to form, purporting to keep the peace. Currently, local warlords command an estimated 100,000 militiamen.
The Feminist Majority continues leading the call for ISAF expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.
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. . . .