International Conference Held To Combat Honor Killings
Over 200 activists from around the world are meeting today in Sweden for an international conference to combat honor killings. Honor killings made headlines in Sweden in 2002 after a 26-year old Kurdish women’s rights activist who was campaigning against honor killings was shot dead by her father for having a relationship with a man from Sweden, according to Agence France-Presse. Between 1,500 and 2,000 women living in Sweden contacted authorities last year for help with threats of being killed by their own relatives, reports Reuters.
The statement released by the Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds and the Gender Equality Minister Jens Orback reads, “Patriarchal violence against women, including violence in the name of honor, is a threat to women’s lives and mental health and to equal conditions between women and men, both in Sweden and in other countries,” reports Agence France-Presse. Honor killings have been rising in Western countries, particularly within immigrant communities. As a way to combat the rise of these crimes in Sweden, the government raised the marriage age to 18 and also refused to recognize child marriage and forced marriage conducted abroad.
Conference attendees represented Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Jordan, Turkey, Poland, Canada, Sweden, the European Union, and human rights groups, reports Reuters.
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. . . .