Afghan Legislator Calls for Enforcement of Chaperones for Women
Afghan women would be forbidden to travel without a male chaperone if a male member of the Afghan parliament has his way. Al-Haji Abdul Jabbar Shalgarai called the participation of two women members of parliament in a major donor’s conference “un-Islamic” and a violation of the law because they traveled without their husbands, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Shalgarai cited sharia law, which allows women to travel for more than three days only if they are accompanied by a male relative.
Shalgarai invoked the protection of women as the purpose for requiring male chaperones, saying, “If someone else’s woman is sitting in the same row of seats as you, well, human beings have different drives, including sexual drives. Sometimes these cannot be controlled...,” reported the Christian Science Monitor.
Although women’s rights are guaranteed in the Afghan Constitution, there is a constitutional provision stating that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” The Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and human rights advocates raised concerns about this provision and other language that leaves issues not addressed in the constitution or by law to adjudication by religious laws.
“Women’s rights in Afghanistan are still fragile,” said Norma Gattsek, deputy policy director at the Feminist Majority. “They remain vulnerable to the same extremist Taliban-like interpretations of religion which were used to take away all of their rights.”
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .