Bush Administration Limits Peacekeeping in Afghanistan
Despite pleas from Afghanistan’s interim government and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as well as thousands of email messages from women’s groups, the Bush Administration appears to have made a decision not to allow an increase in the size of the 4500-member international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, nor an expansion of that force beyond the capitol city, Kabul. The current peacekeeping force is comprised of troops from 17 countries, not including the United States. The US State Department had argued in favor of increasing the peacekeeping force to 25,000, and the recent decision by the Bush Administration is viewed as a major setback for Afghanistan’s interim prime minister Hamid Karzai.
The Feminist Majority Foundation will persist in urging an increase in the peacekeeping force up to 30,000, and an expansion beyond Kabul. Increasing reports of violence confirm that such increase is necessary. Furthermore, reports from Afghanistan suggest that the primary reason Afghan women continue to wear the burqa is fear; they are afraid to go outside, and they see the peacekeeping force as providing security and safety, especially for women and children. An expansion in the size of the peacekeeping force and its deployment throughout Afghanistan is necessary for the establishment of a democratic government, the restoration of women's rights, reconstruction, and the delivery of desperately-needed humanitarian assistance.
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. . . .