Afghanistan: Troubles Persist, NATO to Assume Control of ISAF
As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) readies to take control of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Monday, Afghanistan continues to struggle amidst growing attacks on aid workers and law enforcement officers in its provinces. Despite repeated calls by the United Nations (UN), Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and progressive organizations including the Feminist Majority, ISAF remains confined within Kabul. At his farewell press conference this week, outgoing ISAF commander Lt. Gen. Norbert van Heyst of Germany credited ISAF for securing the capital city of Kabul; however, "What I really want to do is to wake up the international community to do each and every thing to provide security in the province," reported the Agence France Presse. Since late July, roughly 60 people have died in attacks by suspected al-Qaeda supporters, predominantly in the south-the former stronghold of the Taliban, the AFP reported. Just yesterday, six Afghan soldiers and a US aid worker were killed by ambush in the southern province of Helmand.
Since the Taliban's ouster in 2001, Afghan women in Kabul have slowly begun returning to school and work. Earlier this month, Afghan women's rights advocates submitted 100,000 signed copies of the "Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women," urging the country's 35-member constitutional commission to grant women fundamental rights and freedoms in the new constitution. However, because security remains a concern, many women continue to wear the burqa, according to Reuters. "A country's tradition is stronger than its constitution; we cannot change it very quickly... It's very difficult, and we must go carefully step by step," Dr. Soraya Rahim, deputy minister of Afghanistan's Ministry of Women's Affairs told Reuters.
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. . . .