The Taliban announced this week that it will imposes its extreme, fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law on foreigners in Afghanistan, even going so far as to require foreigners to sign an agreement to obey Islamic laws before entering the country. All persons in Afghanistan must not drink alcohol, eat pork, listen to loud music, or have “inappropriate contact” with members of the opposite sex. Women are prohibited from driving. Failure to comply will result in expulsion from Afghanistan or three days to one month of jail time. “Illegal sexual relations” will be punished according to Islamic law, which, under the Taliban, has included severe beatings and even death. Most Muslim nations, except Saudi Arabia and now Afghanistan, allow non-Muslims exemptions from compliance with Islamic law.
The Taliban’s new edicts come at a time of increasing tensions between the Taliban and the United Nations. According to a U.N. official, the Taliban is “narrowing humanitarian space,” restricting severely the U.N.’s ability to provide aid to the thousands of displaced persons within Afghanistan who are in need of food and shelter. According to the Afghanistan Support Group, the main organization that coordinates all of the Afghan aid, including aid distributed through U.N. channels, the Taliban is risking almost all of the aid to Afghanistan with its increasingly restrictive policies. The ASG warns that the situation is worsening daily.
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. . . .