Countering President George Bush’s claims that Congress is close to endorsing a war against Iraq, leading Democrats and women’s rights proponents are criticizing Bush for rushing into war without exhausting diplomatic means, and without fully assessing Iraq’s threat to the United States.
In a speech in San Francisco this week, former Vice President Al Gore questioned the political timing of Bush’s announcement of his plan to attack Iraq weeks before the midterm Congressional elections. Gore argued that without international support, a unilateral war against Iraq could have negative consequences for both the US and the world. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) also accused Bush of “politicizing” the discussion of war. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told the Washington Post that “we as a nation are better served right now by some patience to see if the United Nations can in fact compel compliance” with demands to inspect the country for weapons of mass destruction.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) pointed out in a speech to the Senate today that his constituents are worried that “we are shifting our focus away from ending the violence in the Middle East, eliminating al Qaeda, and rebuilding Afghanistan even though that Herculean task has barely begun.” Despite the Bush administration’s calls for a Marshall Plan-like reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, Bush made no requests for funding this effort in the 2003 budget. “Is the Administration committed to investing the resources it is going to take to rebuild Iraq, even when we are falling short of what is needed in Afghanistan?” Leahy posed.
The women of Afghanistan are the hardest hit by the continuing violence in their country, especially in the areas that lack peacekeeping forces, where well-armed warlords rule through fear and violence. Despite Bush’s rhetoric about the plight of women in Iraq justifying war, many prominent feminist leaders and authors have signed into the “Not in Our Name” pledge against war in Iraq and the broader war against terrorism, including Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Alice Walker, and Eve Ensler.
“We must finish what we started in Afghanistan by expanding peacekeeping troops beyond the capital, providing much-needed humanitarian aid, and sticking to our commitment of rebuilding the country. We cannot let the warlords of Afghanistan return to power and the dream of democracy and equality for women and girls slip away,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.
Media Resources: Washington Post 9/26/02, 9/25/02, 9/24/02; New York Times 9/26/02; The Guardian 9/21/02; Sen. Patrick Leahy 9/26/02
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. . . .