In a nearly unanimous vote yesterday, the French senate approved a law banning any veils that cover the face, making France the first European country to pass such a measure. The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes mesh over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes, reports CNN.
The law, which was overwhelmingly approved by France's lower parliament in July, passed by a vote of 246 to 1 and will go into effect next spring.
The original legislation came from a panel of French lawmakers who recommended a ban last year, and passed a non-binding resolution in May calling the full-face veil contrary to the laws of the nation. When enacted, the law will impose a fine of approximately $190 and/or a citizenship course for women wearing a niqab or a burqa. Additionally, any person forcing a woman to wear a full-face veil will face a year in prison or a $19,000 fine, said the French government.
In June of 2009, President Nicholas Sarkozy announced his opposition of full-face veils in a speech to a joint session of the French Parliament saying, "The burqa is not welcome in French territory...In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity." The speech was the first presidential address to the legislature in over a century.
Media Resources: CNN 9/14/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/24/10, 7/13/10
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .