While Afghan women are in the midst of a refugee health crisis that threatens the lives of millions, the Vatican has criticized efforts by the United Nations to provide sound healthcare information and services. At issue is the UN Inter-Agency Field Manual on Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations which the Holy See offices condemn because it encourages healthcare workers to provide information on emergency contraception and sterilization to women who are at high-risk for rape and maternal death. The Vatican also criticized the manual for taking a “nonjudgmental” approach to extramarital sex and homosexuality.
Kris Janowski, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner of Refugees, defended the manual. “Basically we are telling our people in the field they need to give options to those exposed to rape and AIDS,” said Janowski. “We cannot impose a moral solution. We’re just trying to save lives and protect people, trying to make their lives less miserable.” Afghans have one of the highest rates of maternal mortality as well as child and infant mortality in the world. According to U.N. agencies, refugee women are also more susceptible to rape and other types of sexual violence which can lead to even higher mortality rates, an increase in the spread of sexual transmitted diseases, and an increase in unsafe abortions.
The Feminist Majority is leading a massive campaign to increase humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees, the majority of which are women and children. To find out how you can help, 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. . . .