President Signs Afghan Women and Children Relief Act
Declaring that the future of Afghanistan hinged on “ensuring the essential rights of all Afghans,” President Bush today signed into law the Afghan Women and Children Relief Act. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal and FM Director of Policy and Research Jennifer Jackman attended the bill signing along with Afghan women leaders, women members of Congress, and First Lady Laura Bush. Speaking at the signing, the First Lady applauded the legislation, claiming that it represented the United States’ commitment to re-establishing the freedom and dignity of all Afghan women. Both the First Lady and the President reiterated the Administration’s support for restoring the full rights of women in Afghanistan, and the President commended Afghan women’s advocate Sima Wali, President and CEO of Refugee Women in Development and a Rome group delegate to the United Nations’ sponsored talks in Bonn, on her work to help create a new transitional government that includes women in leadership roles.
Introduced by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and sponsored by every woman in the Senate, the Afghan Women and Children Relief Act authorizes the use of funds for educational and healthcare assistance for Afghan women and children living inside Afghanistan or as refugees in neighboring countries. The bill also specifies the use of Afghan women-led nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as a conduit for providing humanitarian aid.
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. . . .