Roundup: Alaska Parental Notification Bill Stalled

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Roundup: Alaska Parental Notification Bill Stalled

Emily Douglas

Parental notification bill in Alaska stalled; leading Afghan women's rights activist killed; Afghan family law will not be enacted as written; Washington state expands domestic partner benefits.

Parental Notification Bill in Alaska Stalled
A bill to require parental notification for teens seeking abortion has stalled in Alaska state legislature, the Juneau Empire reports
"The parental consent bill passed through the Republican-controlled
House of Representatives earlier, but failed to get a hearing in the
Senate until Friday, two days before the end of the session."  Gov.
Sarah Palin criticized the "lack of action" on the bill.  The Empire
notes that a judicial bypass would be particularly difficult for teens
to obtain in the largely rural state.

Columnists Bonnie Erbe and Ruth Marcus both covered Gov. Sarah
Palin’s admission in a speech late last week that she had contemplated
having an abortion; both reporters called Palin "brave."  Writes Marcus:

I’d like to thank Sarah Palin for her bravery in explaining the
importance of a woman’s right to choose. Even braver, the Alaska
governor made her eloquent case for choice at a right-to-life
fundraising dinner…

Except that, of course, if it were up to Palin, women would have no
thought process to go through. The "good decision to choose life," as
she put it, would be no decision at all, because abortion would not be
an option.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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This is not a particularly complex point, but it is one toward which Palin seems deliberately obtuse.

Erbe’s take:

I see this as brave on her part because when she mentioned she
understood "what these women … go through," that is precisely the
problem with much of the anti-abortion rights movement. Many members
don’t understand or don’t care, quite frankly, what women and girls
with unplanned pregnancies do go through, except to the extent they
want to try to persuade them to have children they’re ill-equipped to
raise. To go up against that lack of compassion, even though her
audience knows she did decide to carry her pregnancy to term, shows
Gov. Palin truly does understand what it’s like.

Leading Afghan Women’s Rights Activist Killed; Family Law Will Not Be Enacted as Written
Three hundred Afghan women gathered last week to protest a new family
law that would dramatically curtail Shia women’s rights, but one of the
country’s leading women’s rights activists was murdered that same week,
Women’s eNews reports

Sitara Achakzai, one of Afghanistan’s leading women’s rights
activists, was murdered earlier this week in Kandahar by Taliban
gunmen, The Independent reported. Achakzai, a member of the Kandahar
provincial council, was standing outside her home when two men on a
motorbike shot her in broad daylight. Earlier this year, Achakzai
helped organize a nationwide sit-in of more than 11,000 women, in seven
provinces, to mark International Women’s Day.


In the wake of the protests and international outrage, "Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced yesterday that his government
will revise a controversial law that would severely restrict women’s
rights by legalizing rape within marriage, among other provisions," the Feminist Daily News reports.  Karzai claimed not to have realized the scope and impact of the law.  Karzai "has sent the likely unconstitutional law to be reviewed by the Afghan Ministry of Justice and the Afghan Supreme Court."

Washington State Expands Domestic Partner Benefits

More good news from the Feminist Daily News:
Washington state has expanded domestic partner benefits.  Gov. Chris
Gregoire has said she would sign the bill.  Reports the Feminist Daily
News: "The bill expands the state’s two-year-old domestic partnership statute,
which provided about 160 rights and responsibilities of the
approximately 400 granted to married couples. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 250 additional rights and responsibilities are granted to couples with domestic partnerships under the current bill."