Michelle Obama's Attire in Saudi Arabia Sparks Online Debate
Michelle Obama visited on Tuesday the Saudi Kingdom with her hair uncovered, drawing media attention to the status of women in the monarchy. The First Lady, who has been traveling wth her husband in India and Saudi Arabia, was both praised and criticized across social media. Michelle Obama wore a loose and modest outfit but was not wearing a veil or headscarf when she landed in Riyadh. In the conservative kingdom, women in public have to be fully covered - including their faces in some part of the country- although some exceptions can be made for foreigners. A video posted on Youtube, and widely circulated on social media, uses broadcast footage from the Saudi state television showing of the head of the First Lady blurred. The Saudi Embassy dismissed the footage as fake.
Marissa Alexander Walks Out of Jail, Two Years House Arrest
Marissa Alexander has been released from jail after serving three years for firing warning shots in direction of her abusive husband in 2010. The judge considered that there was no need to add two years of probation in addition of the two years of house arrest. Alexander will have to wear an electronic device at her ankle and stay employed or in school during these two years.
U.S. Abortion Clinics Face Increasing Violence, Doctors and Staff Threatened
Nearly 20 percent of reproductive rights clinics were targeted by anti-abortion violence last year, according to the 2014 National Clinic Violence Survey. It is a slight decrease from the 23.5 percent registered in 2010. Severe violence includes blockades, clinic invasions, bombing, arson, chemical attacks, stalking, physical violence, gunfire, bomb threats, arson threats, and death threats. The clinics also reported higher levels of threats and targeted intimidation of doctors and staff than in prior years. For instance, clinics reported that information and pictures of doctors posted on the internet jumped from 9 percent to 17.8 precent between 2010 and 2014.
Dominican Republic to Ease Abortion Ban, Challenges Remain
Dominican lawmakers are set to discuss a draft bill next month that would lay out the legal framework for women seeking to terminate pregnancies in certain conditions. Last year, President Danilo Medina recommended that lawmakers amend the criminal code to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, a deformed foetus or when a woman's life is in danger, Reuters Trust Law reported Jan. 27.
The presidential decision to ease the Dominican Republic's ban on abortion is a landmark victory for women's rights, but ensuring women can access legal and potentially life-saving abortions remains a challenge, Latin America and the Caribbean at the Centre for Reproductive Rights has said.
The Dominican Republic's outright ban on abortion has resulted in more than 90,000 unsafe abortions being performed in the country each year, according to the U.S.-based rights group.