On New Year’s Eve, just in time to meet the year-end deadline, President Clinton signed the International Criminal Court (ICC) Treaty—a major victory for women’s rights and human rights groups. Had Clinton not signed the Treaty, the US could not have indicated its support of the ICC through signature alone and would have needed ratification by the Senate. Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Jesse Helms (R-NC) staunchly opposes the ICC.
In July 1998, 120 countries, excluding the United States, voted to adopt the Rome Statute establishing the ICC—a permanent court designed to prosecute war criminals, provide a mechanism for bringing to justice perpetrators of inhumane crimes against humanity, and for the first time in international law, recognize crimes of sexual and gender violence. Clinton’s signature was an essential step and encourages eventual ratification by the US and preserves US participation in the continuing discussion in establishing the court.
Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the ICC Treaty presents clear language defining gender crimes including rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; and crime of apartheid as crimes against humanity. Once the court is established, atrocities such as the Taliban regime’s brutal laws of gender apartheid against women and girls in Afghanistan would qualify as crimes against humanity and therefore eligible to be tried before the International Criminal Court.
The ICC is set to become a working international body in the year 2002 with the ratification of the Rome Statute by 60 countries.
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. . . .