Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC), the ultraconservative politician famous for his 30-year assault on women’s rights, announced his retirement today, effective at the end of his 2003 term. Throughout his tenure, Helms orchestrated several major rollbacks against women’s rights, including the 1973 ban on U.S funds to international organizations offering abortions. His most recent attacks have included attempts to defund colleges and universities offering emergency contraception to students and attempts to strip US aid to the U.N. Population Fund.
Through his position as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Helms has single-handedly held up floor consideration for several years of the U.N. treaty on gender discrimination, the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). He is also spearheading efforts to scuttle U.S. ratification of an International Criminal Court, which would deal with crimes against humanity, such as genocide, rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced sterilization, forced pregnancy, and other forms of sexual violence.
Media Resources: Washington Post 8/21/01; Feminist News Archives
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. . . .