Afghan Chief Justice Attacks Male Candidate for Remarks on Women's Rights
The Chief Justice of the Afghan Supreme Court has demanded that candidate Latif Pedram be expelled from the presidential race for questioning marital laws. Speaking at a womenís forum, Latif Pedram suggested that the issue of divorce and polygamy be debated, reports the Washington Post. According to Pedram, it is impossible for a husband to treat all four wives equally and that it is unfair that men can divorce their wives at any time, while women must obtain their husbandís consent.
According to the Washington Post, Pedramís comments created outrage amongst some conservative Islamic scholars who argued that Pedram had spoken against Islamic law. The chief justice of the Supreme Court sent a letter to the elections committee and the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan demanding that Pedram be kicked out of the elections. According to the Washington Post, the letter has no validity and Pedram is still an official presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan Jean Arnault announced that while 41 percent of those registered to vote in Afghanistan are women, there are areas in the south where only 19 percent of women are registered due to high levels of insecurity. After the close of voter registration last month, the United Nations and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission released a report stating that the most basic conditions for a democratic vote in Afghanistan are in danger of not being met. A lack of information and insecurity are making voters vulnerable to intimidation and manipulation. There are reports of women being harassed at polling center and that voters are brandishing multiple voter cards.
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. . . .