Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to discuss, among other issues, the future of Afghanistan if the Taliban is ousted as a result of the U.S.-led war on terrorism. While Powell openly condemned the Taliban, according to the Washington Post, he also suggested that aspects of the Taliban may be incorporated into a reconstructed Afghan government. “There are many people within the Taliban movement who will still be there,” Powell said. “They’re not all leaving the country, so I hope…the international community will be able to put together something that will appeal to all of the Afghan people.” Powell expects that the United Nations will play a leading role, and Richard Haass, State Department Director of Policy Planning, will meet with UN officials and U.S. allies to discuss the situation this week.
The Feminist Majority is concerned about the preservation of some of the Taliban and their inclusion in the decision-making process as it is necessary to establish a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan where women have equal rights such as they did under the Constitution of 1964. The Feminist Majority has been pushing for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights and the inclusion of women in the formation of a new Afghan government. Women make up sixty to seventy percent of Afghanistan’s total population. Before the Taliban instituted its harsh rule of gender apartheid, women were the majority of teachers, healthcare workers, and students. According to Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, “If civil society is to be rebuilt in Afghanistan and the rogue state that has been sustained by drug trafficking is to be brought to an end, all citizens – especially those in the healthcare and education fields – must be utilized….The United States would be repeating a tragic mistake if it again turns to another set of extremists as it did to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and chooses a dictatorship as the most expedient strategy to replace the Taliban. The restoration of a broad-based democracy, representative of both ethnic minorities and women, with women at the table, is necessary to break the back of a terrorist and a war-torn existence.”
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. . . .