Eleven Bosnian women relayed horrifying tales of rape, torture, forced prostitution, kidnapping, and killing in a U.S. civil trial against Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. The victims are seeking millions of dollars, and charge Karadzic with ordering Bosnian Serb military personnel to commit atrocities against Croats and Muslims in a genocide plot in the early 1990s. The women took the stand, telling their stories through sobs and screams, displaying evidence of severe anxiety as a result of the torture. One victim, now 65 years old, reported being raped daily and burned with an electric cattle prod. The trial is expected to end today, but whether the victims will collect damages is doubtful.
The case comes under U.S. jurisdiction through a 1789 law, the Alien Tort Claims Act, which was originally designed to punish acts of piracy and protect U.S. ambassadors in foreign countries. The law gives non-U.S. citizens the right to file civil suits in the U.S. for injuries suffered in violation of international law. It has been applied to cases like this since the 1980s, although most defenders ordered to pay damages have yet to pay. Karadzic has not been present in the NY courtroom to present a defense, and is currently in hiding from a UN tribunal seeking him on genocide charges. The Bosnian women's case was filed by noted feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon, who pioneered sexual harassment law in the U.S.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .