Eighty-Five World Leaders Support Cairo Plan, Bush Refuses
Over 250 global leaders have endorsed a statement that reaffirms the plan of action created ten years ago at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. President Bush has refused to join the 250 world leaders including 85 heads of state and governments in signing the statement that ensures the rights of women to education, health care, and to reproductive choice, the Associated Press reports. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kelly Ryan explained that Bush would not sign the world leaders’ statement because it “includes the concept of ‘sexual rights,’ a term that has no agreed definition in the international community.” The ICPD statement was signed by leaders from Mexico, Canada, all member countries of the European Union, China, Japan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Botswana, and over a dozen other African countries, as well as 22 former world leaders including Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton according to Oneworld.net.
The Cairo plan of action intended to grant women the “right to make decisions concerning reproduction, free of discrimination, coercion and violence as expressed in human rights documents.” The Associated Press reports that although the term “sexual rights” was not used in the Cairo plan adopted by the US and 178 other countries in 1994, the term was used in the United Nation’s Fourth World Women’s Conference in 1995, which the Clinton Administration not only signed but played a leadership role in drafting.
The Bush administration have withheld over $70 million in funding approved by the US Congress from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and have also threatened to withhold contributions to those who will not break ties with the UNFPA, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Oneworld.net reports.
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. . . .