The Feminist Majority, along with along with 78 other humanitarian, human rights, and conflict prevention organizations, called upon NATO to expand the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. NATO will assume control of ISAF in August, but the groups are urging NATO to order an expansion of ISAF now because it takes time to generate and deploy troops. Currently, there are only 4,800 ISAF troops in Afghanistan, and they are limited to the capital city of Kabul.
Increased security is particularly important as the country begins voter registration for the 2004 elections. In addition, Afghan citizens are experiencing increased threats for expressing their political views on the draft constitution, according to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. There is concern among Afghan women's rights and human rights leaders and activists that unless security is improved immediately and dramatically, any opportunity for peace, democracy, and women's rights will soon come to end. The vast majority of women in Afghanistan continue to wear the burqa because of fear and lack of security in the country.
"Expansion of international peacekeeping troops is necessary to make sure voter registration and the electoral process themselves are fair and democratic, especially for women," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. "Last year, Congress passed the Afghan Freedom Support Act authorizing increased reconstruction financing and peace troop expansion. President Bush signed it into law. But where is the financing and where are the peace troops?" she wrote in a New York Times letter to the editor. "Women and girls are the first victims: warlords in some areas are placing Taliban-like restrictions on women, and more than a dozen girls' schools have suffered violent attacks by fundamentalists."
The Feminist Majority continues to lead the call for peace troop expansion, increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.
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. . . .