Indonesian Official Proposes Virginity Test for Access to Education
An Indonesian education official has proposed that all high school-aged girls be required to pass a "virginity exam," in order to attend school.
Muhammad Rasyid, who leads the education office in South Sumatra's district of Prabumulih, says the mandate would discourage young girls from premarital sex and promiscuity. Although he said the tests could begin as early as 2014, the proposal has come heavily under fire from public education NGOs and other Indonesian officials.
The test would involve an invasive vaginal exam to determine if the girl's hymen has been torn. Critics of the plan have noted that hymens can be torn from activities other than sex - including sports or health problems - and that education is a fundamental human right regardless of sexual activeness.
A coalition of educational organizations issued a press release on Wednesday, saying "The purpose of such a test is absurd. The 1945 Constitution as well as the 1999 Human Rights Law stipulate that education is one of every citizen's constitutional rights. Therefore, the right of access to education cannot be denied under any circumstance. The planned test also violates the 2013 National Education Law, which stipulates that education shall be maintained with justice and without discrimination."
Nurul Arifin, a female politician from the Golkar Party, called the proposal "discrimination and harassment against women." Another province attempted to implement a similar plan in 2010, but it was abandoned following a public outcry.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 8/21/2013; International Business Times 8/21/2013; Jakarta Post 8/21/2013
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .