King Releases Nepalese Women Imprisoned for Having Abortions
Nepal's King Gyanendra granted amnesty to 12 female prisoners who were jailed for having abortions. Women’s groups have been urging for the release of the women prisoners since abortion was made legal in Nepal in 2002. Pinky Shah, program officer for the Rural Women’s Development and Unity Center in Nepal, estimates that there are as many as 30 women still in prison for undergoing abortions, BBC reports. Before 2002, women who terminated their pregnancies faced up to three years in prison.
Under the current law, according to BCC News, Nepalese women can undergo an abortion within 12 weeks of pregnancy, and up to 18 weeks if a woman is pregnant as a result of rape or incest. In addition, the law states that women can have abortions at any time if the health of the woman or the fetus is in danger.
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. . . .