Najia Seddiqi, the head of women's affairs for Laghman province and known women's rights activist, was murdered yesterday on her way to her office. She was getting into a rickshaw when two gunmen on a motorbike shot her. She was traveling with no bodyguards despite multiple requests for protection from authorities, according to her family. As of Tuesday, no one had claimed responsibility for the murder, though an investigation has been launched to determine if political extremists are responsible. Sediqqi's predecessor as the head of women's affairs was murdered five months earlier by a bomb planted in her car as she was traveling.
Despite the fact that women in Afghanistan have reclaimed voting, educational, and employment rights, many fear that new talks between the government and the Taliban could lead to new restrictions. In addition, a report from the United Nations found that violence against women and girls is still mainstream in Afghanistan despite new laws that aim to legally protect women from abuse.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 12/11/12; The Guardian 12/10/12; Washington Post 12/10/12
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. . . .