Afghans in Kandahar, the base of the Taliban regime, are fleeing into Pakistan or into remote villages in Afghanistan for fear of U.S. retaliation and possible conscription into the Taliban militia. According to refugee reports, Taliban soldiers began forcibly recruiting men and boys of all ages to take up arms, going so far as to close every religious school in the city so students could begin military training. Members of the Taliban regime have seized men in the streets of Kandahar or in their homes and ordered them to prepare for military action. In response to this threat and to the threat of continuing drought and starvation, great numbers of residents are leaving Kandahar and joining the millions of other Afghans who have fled their homes in search of food, shelter, and some semblance of safety. Currently, there are roughly over 7 million Afghan refugees of which 3.5 million are in Pakistan. Seventy-five percent of all Afghan refugees are women and children. Humanitarian aid is essential to save their lives, prevent destabilization of Pakistan, and to cause defection from the Taliban.
United Nations agencies have requested $538 million to provide necessary emergency assistance for Afghan refugees. The U.S. has already announced $100 million in new aid, but this is only a fraction of what is needed. To meet the U.N. appeal to donor nations, some 40% must come from the U.S. Individuals are also trying to meet this humanitarian need. Popular actress Angelina Jolie donated $1 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees after traveling to Pakistan and Iran to visit Afghan refugees living in the camps there.
The Feminist Majority is conducting a massive campaign urging more humanitarian aid, the restoration of women’s rights, and the establishment of democracy as part of any long-range solution to terrorism. Mavis Leno, FM Chair of the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, will appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday, October 3. To find out how you can help, visit www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Washington Post, 10/2/01; LA Times, 9/28/01
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. . . .