Recent Spate of Violence Could Push Aid Organizations out of Afghanistan
Reports of violence in northern Afghanistan, including the gang rape of a female international aid worker, have raised further concerns about security in the war-torn nation with several international groups threatening to leave the country. “Many aid workers, noting the climate of fear and insecurity in the region, are considering reducing or discontinuing there work there,” said UN spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva. One US aid organization, whose vehicle was attacked Friday while taking food to a camp for displaced Afghans, has already left. Another nongovernmental organization, which was operating a health clinic in Shulgareh in Balkh province when gunmen opened fire on the clinic, is considering following suit. On June 8, a woman working for a nongovernmental organization was gang raped by seven men who attacked her vehicle and beat up the Afghan staff member with her, according to Almeida. In a letter to Afghanistan’s newly-elected president Hamid Karzai, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called these reports of violence “a serious situation.”
The Feminist Majority has been leading women’s organizations in calling for President Bush to expand security forces in Afghanistan. “Now more than ever it is vitally important that the United States send more peacekeeping troops to Afghanistan,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “To not only keep the international workers safe but to protect the lives of the men, women and children of Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, debate continued over whether or not delegates to the loya jirga would have the right to approve Karzai’s cabinet and the composition of the parliament. After two days of contentious debate, delegate protests and adjournments, Karzai is expected to announce cabinet appointments Tuesday, the final day of the loya jirga.
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. . . .