Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV) spoke candidly on the Senate floor yesterday about the suffering of Afghan women under the Taliban and urged the U.S. to intensify its efforts to restore Afghan women’s rights. Wearing a Symbol of Remembrance, a small square of mesh through which Afghan women must see, Reid acknowledged that women were the Taliban’s first victims, and that the Taliban’s brutal system of gender apartheid had “nothing to do with religion” but “everything to do with power.” Reid also called for women’s participation in the reconstruction process, strongly stating, “Women must play a role in the rebuilding of post-Taliban Afghanistan.”
Reid spoke at length about the decrees under which Afghan women have lived and their efforts to resist the Taliban. Women have been barred from work, school, and public baths and are not allowed to leave their homes without a close male relative and without wearing the burqa shroud. Many women, however, do not have close male relatives, such as a brother or husband, because of war that has spanned more than two decades. Kabul alone has over 40,000 widows. In spite of the Taliban, massive poverty, and the threat of reprisal, including execution, women have attempted to maintain some semblance of civil society by running clandestine home schools and providing rudimentary health services.
The Feminist Majority provided Sen. Reid with 100 Symbols of Remembrance, which will be distributed to every member of the Senate. To find out how you can get involved, or to acquire the symbol, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
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. . . .