Afghanistan: Criticism Builds as Possible War with Iraq Looms
UN officials are growing increasingly concerned that a war with Iraq could have severe consequences on humanitarian efforts elsewhere, particularly in Afghanistan, Angola, and the Ivory Coast, reported the BBC. Reports last month indicated that Ruud Lubbers, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, received warnings to prepare for Iraqi refugees, but “There’s not one government who has come to me with money,” he said. The BBC reports that some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are refusing funds from countries sponsoring war with Iraq, preferring instead to contend with existing emergencies elsewhere.
The Feminist Majority and other progressive feminist organizations continue to call for the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beyond and within Kabul. Currently, ISAF consists of 4,800 troops, supported by 22 nations, according to the Wall Street Journal. Critics of the US effort in Afghanistan argue that without commitments from the US, the effectiveness of ISAF will continue to be limited. Rafael Robillard, head of the coalition group Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief, criticized that the Pentagon’s recently-unveiled Provincial Reconstruction Teams—which consists of 60 troops working alongside regional Afghan commanders—is “driven more by developing events in Iraq or Washington than the reality on the ground in Afghanistan,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai may not run for re-election next year, the Washington Post reported today. His term, which began in late 2001, is set to expire in mid-2004 after the Loya Jirga meets to draft a new constitution. In his interview with the Post, Karzai expressed reservations about running again for President: “I don’t want this country to develop personality cults or icons, I don’t like that…” He continued, “I want leaderships in Afghanistan, a multiplicity of leaderships…I want the Afghan people to have choices. I don’t want them to be stuck with one man… because of a lack of choice.”
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. . . .