After receiving a petition with signatures from over 100 Iranian women's rights activists and 4,000 concerned individuals, Iran Ayatollah Shahroudi has acted to stop the execution of Ashraf Kolhari, a mother of four who was sentenced to death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage. Kolhari’s sentence was protested by human rights and women’s rights organizations across the world, objecting to the cruel and unusual punishment to which she was condemned for having an affair. In response to Kolhari’s situation, over 5,300 Feminist Majority Foundation activists sent emails to Ayatollah Shahroudi and the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner to protest Kolhari’s execution and the practice of stoning.
In an open letter, Kolhari’s lawyer Shadi Sadr wrote, “It is a wonderful feeling to see people coming together to save the life of another human being. I should also say that it is a great pleasure for me, as her lawyer, to share my happiness with all of you who were with us and supported the effort to save her.”
Kolhari’s fate, however, is not completely clear yet, and the cruel practice of stoning in Iran is still legal. While the Ayatollah’s announcement is good news for women and human rights in Iran, Sadr adds that feminists and activists must remain vigilant: “I am asking you to please continue your efforts and keep your voices loud until we make sure that [Kolhari] is safe. Furthermore, we must demand a change in the law that makes stoning illegal as a ‘sentence’ for any crime.”
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .