Women's Rights Treaty Enacted by Fifteen African Nations
Fifteen African countries have ratified the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, affirming that reproductive rights are human rights. The Protocol mandates that women have the right to an abortion when pregnancy results from assault, rape, or incest, as well as when the woman’s mental health, physical health, or life is jeopardized, reports Population Action International (PAI). According to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), this is the first international treaty to assert this right.
The Protocol improves upon the African Charter, which, according to CRR, is often used to justify the subordination of women because of its support for traditional cultural practices, including those that violate women’s rights, such as female genital mutilation (FGM). The Protocol, however, bans FGM, another first for an international document, reports CRR.
Togo became the 15th country to ratify the Protocol on October 26, and the treaty went into effect one month later, reports Southern African News Features. At least 38 other African nations are signatories to the treaty, according to PAI.
Media Resources: CRR briefing paper 12/7/05; PAI press release 12/12/05; Southern African News Features 12/5/05
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. . . .