The commission appointed by Afghan Interim Chairman, Hamid Karzai, to faciliate the assembly of the loya jirga, announced plans today to set aside 160 seats for women -- 11% -- at the national gathering to determine the next stage of the Afghan transition government. The 1500 member loya jirga is scheduled to take place June 10-16 and will be responsible for choosing members of Afghanistan’s next government, which will govern for eighteen months before national elections are held. Besides the guaranteed 160 seats for women, 100 seats have been set aside for Afghan refugees, 39 for university academics, 30 for members of the current interim government, and 6 for Islamic scholars. The Loya Jirga Commission includes 3 women.
The remaining delegates to the loya jirga will be selected on April 16, according to plans laid out by the Karzai commission, by consensus at the village level. These delegates will then participate in district elections where they can vote for themselves or others to act as representatives at the loya jirga. While individuals who have been involved in terrorism, drug trafficking, human rights abuses, and war crimes are banned from participation, many are still concerned that Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists may gain representation in the loya jirga process.
Media Resources: New York Times and LA Times, 4/102
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. . . .