Maloney Introduces Afghan Women Security and Freedom Act 2004
Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), with Representatives Tom Davis (R-VA) and Corrine Brown (D-FL) introduced the "Afghan Women Security and Freedom Act 2004." The act (HR 4117) authorizes $300 million for each of the fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007. Introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in the Senate earlier this year, the act includes earmarks for $20 million for the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs and $10 million for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission each year.
According to Maloney, “While the new Afghan constitution guarantees equality for Afghan women, throughout Afghanistan, women continue to face intimidation, discrimination, and violence.” She said that “the United States has an obligation to ensure that women and girls have the opportunities that they were denied under the Taliban.”
Calling for direct funding for the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, the act also provides that "not less than 25 percent” of the assistance should be provided to women-led non-governmental organizations that are located in Afghanistan.
In addition, the act calls for expansion of international peacekeeping forces and the authorization of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) to intervene to stop human rights and women's rights violations, which the current mandate does not allow. The act also states that assistance should be used to implement programs to protect women and girls from sexual and physical abuse, trafficking, and sex discrimination in the delivery of humanitarian aid.
According to the act, not less than every six months the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US State Department will be required to submit a report on the activities detailing the amount of assistance released to the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs, other ministries of the Afghan government, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Afghan non-profit organizations, international non-profit organizations, and United Nations agencies.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .