A ban passed in Egypt on female genital mutilation (FGM) in July of 1996, has yet to take affect in most Egyptian cities. FGM, the partial or complete removal of a woman's clitoris or external genitals, is widely practiced in many sub-Saharan African nations as well as in Egypt. After complications FGM caused the July death of an eleven-year-old girl, pressure from international groups led to a ban on the operation issued by Health Minister Ismail Sallam. The decree, which pertains solely to public hospitals, remains ineffectual however in hindering the practice because of objections by Islamic fundamentalists, many of whom are health professionals who believe that the circumcision curbs women's sexual habits and maintains passivity in girls. Girls as young as three continue to undergo the painful procedure which, if it does not result in death, can cause lifelong pain and complications.
A recent national survey conducted this year by Macro International Inc. with help from the US Agency for International Development indicates that over 95 percent of married Egyptian women had been circumcised while nearly 90 percent of Egyptian girls had either already undergone the procedure or were awaiting circumcision. Human rights activists advocate the criminalization of the procedure and are attempting to promote public awareness of both the procedure and the need to make it a criminal offense. Marie Assaad, a chairwoman of a coalition of Egyptian non-governmental organizations has stated however "many doctors still believe it is a very important protection against disease and immorality and that talking against it is a Western Fad."
Media Resources: The Washington Post -November 24, 1996
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. . . .