At today's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the $87 billion supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) raised concerns about vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and Iraq, including women. She pointed to a Human Rights Watch Report and threats against girls going to school as examples of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
At the hearing today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that 75 percent of the $87 billion for Afghanistan and Iraq will go to the troops "who are risking their lives in this struggle" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only $1.2 billion is included for Afghanistan, out of which only $300 million is designated for the construction of roads, school and clinics.
Even though Rumsfeld stated that what the international peacekeeping troops (ISAF) are "doing is important for Afghanistan" and the commander of the United States Central Command, General John Abizaid, acknowledged that Al Qaeda and Taliban forces "are conducting low-level guerilla and terrorist attacks" in Afghanistan "to obstruct reconstruction efforts and incite chaos," neither made any mention of the desperate need to expand the international peacekeeping troops (ISAF) beyond Kabul.
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, 45 women presented President Hamid Karzai with their own Afghan Women's Bill of Rights in Kandahar. This document guarantees an education, health care, personal security, and support for widows with the freedom to vote, to speech, and with a guarantee of right to orphans, disabled women and widows.
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .