Support for Women's Rights May Cost Afghan Student 20 Years
Afghan student Parwez Kambakhsh has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for blasphemy, having circulated an article about women's rights under Islam, reports the Los Angeles Times. Kambakhsh, 24, who also worked as a part-time newspaper journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif, had downloaded the article from the Internet.
Originally sentenced to death for his "crime," an Afghan appeals court reduced the penalty to jail time. However, freedom-of-the-press advocates and human rights groups who have championed Kambakhsh's case, including the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), remain appalled by the decision. "This is a tragic situation. Human rights and women's rights groups will continue to try to free Kambakhsh," said FMF President Eleanor Smeal.
The case, wrote reporter Laura King, "has illustrated Afghanistan's drift toward a more radically conservative brand of Islam as well as the fragility of its legal system." Kambakhsh, who says he was tortured into giving a confession, can still appeal to the country's Supreme Court.
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 10/22/08; Interview with Eleanor Smeal 10/23/08
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. . . .