In secret ballot elections held late Thursday, Afghanistan’s national assembly—the loya jirga—selected current interim leader Hamid Karzai as the next head of state, serving until the 2004 elections. Karzai emerged with 1,295 of the more than 1,500 votes cast. Female physician Massouda Jalal finished as runner-up with 171 votes, despite efforts by Defense Minister Marshal Fahim to undermine her candidacy by calling it un-Islamic. Jalal had gathered 160 signatures—10 more than required—from a nearly 90 percent male delegation to be on the ballot.
In elections early Thursday morning, Professor Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar was elected as chairman of the loya jirga. Current interim women’s affairs minister Sima Samar was appointed as first deputy chair of proceedings of the loya jirga. After a long day wrought by arguments and complaints, several delegates expressed appreciation and excitement about the loya jirga experience. According to Ashraf Ghani Ahmedzai, senior adviser to Mr. Karzai, the loya jirga “is an exercise in voice…the people of Afghanistan are acquiring voice for the first time in 23 years.” H. Aktar Mohammed, an ethnic Pashtun from Ghazni province added: “It’s the first time ever in our history that we are witnessing such a situation. I like watching the people line up to vote.”
Media Resources: BBC 6/13/02; NY Times 6/13/02; Feminist Majority 6/12/02
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. . . .