The Bush Administration's withdrawal of funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has negative consequence for the battle against child marriage. Since July 2002, the Bush Administration has withdrawn $34 million annual for the UNFPA, a major played in the fight to eradicate child marriage, based on false allegations that the UNFPA participated in coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization in China.
According to the Kaisernetwork, child marriage affects over 51 million girls in developing countries and puts women at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS or developing health complications, such as obstetric fistula, from becoming pregnant at an early age. When girls are married to older men, which is common in places in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, the wives are often less able to negotiate the use of condoms due to the lack of a balance of power in the relationship. According to Geeta Rao Gupta of the International Center for Research on Women, child marriage also perpetuates poverty because girls stop going to school after they are married resulting in a loss of economic opportunities.
According to the Chicago Tribune, approximately 100 million girls will be married before the age of 18 worldwide.
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. . . .