Phoolan Devi, the outlaw-turned-lawmaker portrayed in the movie "Bandit Queen," was assassinated yesterday outside her New Delhi home. Forced to marry at the age of 12, Devi fled her abusive husband and then joined a gang of outlaws who robbed from members of the upper castes and protected the lower castes, especially women. After Devi was kidnapped and gang raped in 1980 by the land owners of Behmai, Deviís gang returned to the village and murdered 22 upper caste men. In 1994, Deviís story was mythologized in the movie "Bandit Queen." Her story of fighting gender and caste oppression through brutal crime was controversial.
For the past six years, Devi served in the Indian parliament as a representative of the Samajvadi Party. While some have speculated that her murderers were avenging the Behmai killings, they may have been politically motivated as well. Samajvadi Party leader Amar Singh remarked, "There seems to be a political design behind her killing, as it comes hardly a few months before the elections."
Media Resources: The Washington Post, July 26; The New York Times, July 26
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. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .