Last night on the House floor, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) stated that the President's Emergency Supplemental shows that the United States has forgotten about the war on terrorism in Afghanistan. According to Lee, Bush's funding plan is supposed to be for both Iraq and Afghanistan yet it calls for a "pitiful" amount of money for Afghanistan, a place where the "Taliban is on the rise." President Bush's emergency plan calls for $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, out of which less than 1 percent goes to Afghanistan's reconstruction.
Lee compared the disproportionate funding levels for Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Lee, we are funding national security for Iraq with $2.1 billion, and for Afghanistan $222 million; the justice system in Iraq gets $919 million, and $10 million in Afghanistan. The electrical system in Iraq is funded at $5.7 billion and $45 million in Afghanistan. She stated that Afghanistan "is devastated. It is a flattened area. When we talk about rebuilding infrastructure, I would think that we would not give shortchange to Afghanistan, which is percolating as the center of focus for Taliban." Due to the uneven levels of funding for Iraq's and Afghanistan's reconstruction, she asked the House for a separate vote on the military costs versus the rebuilding costs.
Regarding security in Afghanistan, according to the New York Times, NATO has decided in principle to expand its presence in Afghanistan beyond Kabul. The final approval for this decision will come at the end of the week.
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. . . .