Feminist Majority Calls Attention to Gender Apartheid in New York Times
As the Taliban puts aid workers on trial for “proselytizing Christianity” and Afghan refugees off the coast of Australia finally gain asylum in New Zealand and other countries, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal calls attention to gender apartheid in Afghanistan in a letter to the editor in today’s New York Times. Smeal focuses on the Taliban’s horrific treatment of women and girls, as well as their targeting of ethnic and religious minorities in Afghanistan, and calls on the United States and the United Nations to pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to withdraw their support of the Taliban.
In other news, the world is finally responding to the refugee crisis off the coast of Australia where refugees have now been moved to an Australian navy vessel that can better serve the needs of the large group. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced this weekend that her nation would accept 150 of the 450 refugees - most of them from Afghanistan - awaiting asylum aboard a ship in Australian waters. The island republic of Nauru will accept the other 300 people temporarily. They will be resettled to other countries, which may include Australia, Norway, and Canada, although Australian Prime Minister John Howard is still determined to keep the refugees off Australian soil, despite public outcry against his position. Clark is now appealing to the UN for more financial support for the 3.6 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and other nations around the world.
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. . . .