Although Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) has scheduled a vote tomorrow on US ratification of the international women’s treaty, the Republicans may find a way to delay this important vote for the second time. However, in anticipation of this scenario, Biden scheduled three backup dates for the vote – next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. “We are confident that this historic treaty will soon be approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “Our hope is that the full Senate will then recognize how important it is for the US to promote women’s rights around the world.”
Ratified by 170 countries, the Convention for the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was drafted by the United Nations in 1979 to provide a standard for women’s equality and rights. The United States is the only industrialized nation that has not ratified the treaty, which means that our government is aligned with such nations as the Taliban’s Afghanistan, Iran and Sudan. While the Bush administration told the Senate six months ago that CEDAW was “generally desirable and should be approved,” Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote the committee two weeks ago to say that the administration now feels that the treaty should be studied by the Justice Department and Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was an opponent of CEDAW when he was in the Senate.
Led by Biden and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Senate committee held the first hearing in eight years on CEDAW last month. While a committee vote on the treaty was originally scheduled for last Thursday, an anonymous Republican Senator used a procedural tactic on the Senate floor to have that vote cancelled. Tomorrow’s vote is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. in the Senate Dirksen building.
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. . . .