Afghan President Hamid Karzai officially appointed Habiba Sorabi as minister for women’s affairs today, replacing Dr. Sima Samar who will head the country’s human rights commission. Sorabi is a pharmacist and women’s rights activist, who returned to Afghanistan after she fled to Pakistan following the Taliban takeover.
Sorabi is the third woman to be appointed to an official position in Afghanistan’s new transitional government - she will serve along with Mahboba Hoqooqmal, who had earlier been named as the women’s affairs minister but will instead serve in the more junior position of minister of state for women’s affairs, and Suhaila Seddiqi, named for public health minister.
The Feminist Majority believes that while these appointments represent a step forward for Afghan women, there is still much to be done. “We are glad to see that women will be taking an active role in the Afghan government,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Now more funds need to be provided for the Women’s Affairs Ministry to help women achieve the full equality they deserve.”
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. . . .