Eight months ago, Asma Khader helped to set up a human rights group called the National Campaign for Ending So-Called Honor Crimes in Jordan. Yesterday, the group announced a new public campaign to reverse a law that assigns little or no punishment to the purveyors of so-called "honor crimes."
A beating, murder, rape, or other violent attack on a woman is defined as a "honor" crime when it is committed by a man who claims to have committed the crime in an effort to restore his family's reputation. For instance, women who date, marry, or divorce without the blessing of their families may be seen as deserving victims. Thus, the punishment for these crimes is lax. Men who claim to have murdered their sisters, cousins, aunts or mothers in an attempt to restore family honor may be jailed for as little as three months.
Police records indicate that at least 160 women, most of whom were teenagers at the time of their death, were the victims of "honor" crimes. Hundreds more are beaten, are forced to flee their families, or are confined to their homes.
A new law which would assign harsher punishments to purveyors of "honor crimes" will be debated by Jordan's parliament this November. Khader explained that while the law leaves much to be desired, it would constitute a step in the right direction. "At least we are able to talk about it now," she said. "It was a big taboo."
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. . . .