Hundreds of protesters yesterday demonstrated in the Afghan capital of Kabul, demanding that the government adhere to the 2001 Bonn agreement, which laid the groundwork for a return to democracy in Afghanistan. Zarmina Akhgar, deputy chairwoman of the Freedom and Democracy Movement (Dari: Nahzat-e Azadi wa Democracy) joined other demonstrators, including members of the National and Islamic Movement (Dari: Jonbesh-e Melli wa Eslami) in calling for "equality of rights for men and women in real sense," saying, "Now, we have the permission to come out of our houses, but we want women to play a more significant role," according to the BBC.
Included in the 11-article communiqué submitted by protesters to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) was a call to reopen the independent weekly newspaper Aftab, forced to close last month for criticizing Afghan warlords in the current administration. "We need press freedom and we don't want any fundamentalists in government," Jawid Khoystani told the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable, with continuing murders of aid workers, attacks on United Nations de-mining operations, Taliban-like restrictions in some provinces, factional fighting, and the bombing of girls' schools. The Feminist Majority continues leading the call for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) 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. . . .