Turkish Government Taking Unprecedented Steps Against
Facing pressure from women's groups and the European Union, the Turkish government has begun a major media campaign condemning all violence towards women, especially so-called "honor" killings. They will also set up hotlines, rescue teams, and town hall meetings in the Kurdish southeastern area of the country, where the rate of honor killings is particularly high. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a conservative, has spoken out against the archaic practice, telling the Organization of the Islamic Conference that honor killings need to be abolished from all Islamic societies.
Honor killings are murders performed by male relatives who feel that a female family member has tarnished the family honor with "unchaste" or "disobedient" behavior ranging from expressing the desire to work outside of the home to speaking up about abuse or rape. Last year, Turkish women's groups told Time magazine that approximately 70 women die each year in honor killings in Turkey, though many more go unrecorded. The Los Angeles Times estimates that "thousands of women have died, been attacked, or compelled to commit suicide in so-called honor killings."
Turkey has previously been denied integration into the European Union in part because of its poor treatment of women, Time reports. In response, the government opened the first legitimate women's shelter in southeastern Turkey in 2005 and now houses about 50 women, many in their early 20s and victims of rape. Last year, jail sentences for men who commit honor killings were stiffened, and it is now harder for those sentences to be reduced.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .