Nigeria: Women Receive Death Penalty for Abortion, Sexual Relations
A leading human rights organization released a report stating that the death penalty in Nigeria is often used in a discriminatory way against women. According to the Amnesty International report, the death penalty was used for abortion-related offences and so-called crimes of sexual impropriety that went against sharia (Islamic) law.
In addition, the crime of zina (sexual relations with someone other than a spouse) carries a mandatory death sentence if the accused is married and one hundred lashes if the accused is not married. The most recent case of sharia law being used against a woman for adultery was the case of Amina Lawal, who was sentenced to death by stoning. After great international and national outcry against the sentence, Lawal's sentence was overturned.
Amnesty International is urging the Nigerian government to take steps to abolish the death penalty and practice and to ensure that the rights of girls and women are fully protected against discriminatory laws and practices.
The issue of danger to women's rights by placing family law under the jurisdiction of sharia law has recently come under fire in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, the new constitution includes such a provision and in Iraq, the Iraqi Governing Council has
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. . . .