Ongoing fighting between the extremist Taliban militia and its northern opposition has forced more than 150,000 people to flee their homes. According to a United Nations statement issued yesterday, the Taliban has been setting villages on fire in an attempt to force civilians out. In a period of less than 36 hours on August 13 and 14, an estimated 10,000 people were forced from their homes into the Afghan capital of Kabul. Many thousands more were expected this weekend.
Medical aid agency Medecins du Monde (MDM - Doctors of the World) announced Friday that about 20,000 Afghan women and children seeking refuge in the northern Panshir valley will soon die unless they receive necessary medical attention and supplies. Dr. Guy Causse of the MDM said, "Without aid, we are heading for a famine situation within two weeks." Causse also cautioned that the conditions in the valley are ripe for an epidemic, and that many of the children are already suffering from diarrhea and dehydration.
MDM plans to send 15,000 tons of aid including medical equipment, nutrient rich foods and re-hydration kits. The supplies must be flown into Tajikistan and then transported over the border to Afghanistan using helicopters and ground transportation. The French government has also volunteered 35 tons of aid.
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. . . .