Women's Rights Activists Among Winners in Afghan Election
On the fourth anniversary of the US bombing of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, Afghanistan has begun releasing the first results from its parliamentary election on September 18. The ballot count is completed and the election has enetered a challenge period for those who seek to contest the election. Early election reports indicate warlords, opponents of President Hamid Karzai, and women’s activists are among the winners.
For example, women’s rights activist and outspoken critic of the warlords in Afghanistan Malalai Joya came in second in the western province of Farah, winning 7 percent of the vote. Women are guaranteed at least 68 of the 249 seats in the Wolesi Jirga (lower house).
Joya received international attention when she publicly protested the selection of warlords for leadership positions in 2003 when Afghanistan was drafting a new constitution. She was then placed under UN protection after receiving death threats. Afghan warlords also reportedly won seats in the parliament.
“I hope by being a member of parliament I will be able to serve my people, especially the women,” Joya said, according to the Times (UK). “I will do my best to stop the warlords and criminals from building any laws that will jeopardize the rights of Afghan people, especially the women.”
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. . . .