As he did in Thursday night’s debate, President Bush repeatedly refers to the number of people registering to vote in Afghanistan for the October 9 Afghan presidential election. Bush said, “Ten million citizens have registered to vote…Forty-one percent of those 10 million are women.” The Feminist Majority is closely following the election process and is now trying to get out the real story of what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan.
In August, the Taliban stepped up its attacks and threats against women, presidential candidates, voters, and aid workers in an attempt to disrupt the elections. Extremist militias are also targeting women and the election. Four women election workers have been killed and ten wounded. Members of the Taliban have been present at registration polls and have been threatening women as they approach to register. Massooda Jalal, the only female candidate running for President, has reported that she has been a target of intimidation and has received death threats as a result of her candidacy.
The violence and intimidation are having a serious impact on the number of women registering to vote as the UN estimates that only 19% of the registered voters in southern Afghanistan are women due to a lack of security. Reports from on the ground reflect that there are areas of the country where not a single woman has registered. The registration process is seriously flawed. Even Afghan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that the same individuals are registering over and over again. Underage boys are also registering.
The 10 million reportedly registered to vote is greater than previous UN estimates of the number of eligible voters in the country.
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. . . .