Several leading women's groups released a scorecard grading the Bush Administration on its policies in Iraq and Afghanistan that affect women, including women's political participation, health, and security. After announcing that President Bush received a “C” for rhetoric and an “F” for reality regarding women’s security in Afghanistan and Iraq, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, said that there has been a “tragedy of lost opportunity [in Afghanistan and Iraq, that] can still be turned around but we have to invest far more in security.” The administration needs to change its current policy of “giving too much power to reactionary leaders who will further oppress women,” according to Smeal. One of the reasons security is deteriorating in Afghanistan is because of our “strategy to depend upon so-called militias and warlords to provide security,” she said. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Smeal said, “you have a mismanaged situation that is injuring women’s rights while [the Bush Administration’s] rhetoric supports women’s rights.”
Regarding women’s political participation, June Zeitlin, president of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) stated that there have been “minimal actions to include women as decision makers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.” According to the Scorecard, “by not fully integrating women in the peace building and political processes of both countries and failing to give high priority to women’s rights, [Bush Administration] ha[s] further entrenched women’s marginal status and lost an opportunity to fully demonstrate the potential of democracy.”
Jodi Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), stated that current US policies in Iraq have “made a bad situation worse” for women’s health. Jacobson noted that “50 women die each day of pregnancy and childbirth” in Afghanistan and that “since the invasion of Afghanistan, there has been little investment in health care and basic medical supplies.” Jacobson went on to assert that the current US threats to defund international bodies, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), only hurts women and girls in Afghanistan and Iraq because those organizations are “best posed to address” the health concerns for women and children in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
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 and global women’s issues in April 2004, March 2004, November 2003, and August 2003.
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. . . .