Women's Groups Grade Bush Administration Record on Women's Issues
Leading women's groups released the third in a series of scorecards rating the Bush Administration on key issues affecting women internationally. The issues covered in this report card include women and the emergency AIDS relief plan and women's rights in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The report card's grades for the Bush Administration's record regarding the rights of women in Afghanistan were an "A" for rhetoric and a "D" for reality. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, said, "Though women's rights are guaranteed in the Afghan Constitution, they are very fragile ... [The] provision in the Constitution stating that 'no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam'...leaves women's rights vulnerable." In addition, Smeal stated, "The lack of security makes women's already fragile rights even weaker," pointing to the alarming reports that the Administration may arm reactionary militias to form a national guard and the insufficient number of peacekeeping troops throughout the country. Smeal urged the Bush Administration to immediately increase peacekeeping troops and reconstruction funding to a realistic level and to help establish a clear separation of church and state in Afghanistan.
The Bush Administration received an "A" for rhetoric and an "I" (Incomplete) for reality in regards to its work for women in Iraq. The scorecard notes that "women are under-represented in all decision making bodies controlled by the US Coalition Provisional Authority"; that the "US has failed to meet women's most basic need: personal security"; and that "without specific protections in the permanent constitution, Iraqi women's rights will be tenuous."
In addition, the Bush Administration's approach to the AIDS "is under-funded, favors ideological approaches at the expense of best scientific practices, and fails to support comprehensive access to lifesaving information and technologies," according to the Global Scorecard.
The Feminist Majority, Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and the Communications Consortium Media Center (CCMC) previously released scorecards on the Bush Administration in November and August.
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. . . .
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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. . . .