Congresswoman Raises Concerns About Plight of Afghan Women
At yesterday's House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) raised her concerns about the plight of women in Afghanistan. She stated that while women make up 46 percent of the population in Afghanistan, they have been denied opportunity to participate in their society for years. According to Lowey, "there is progress being made and just last week a group of women...met to write a bill on women's rights...but there is much more that needs to be done."
In addition, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) expressed his concerns about the Bush Administration's $87 billion supplemental request - which provides only $800 million for Afghanistan reconstruction funding compared with $20 billion for Iraq reconstruction. In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Biden wrote, "Inadequate funding is just one way the president has failed to make good on his pledge of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan. He has also failed to provide the leadership necessary to encourage the rest of the world to join in the rebuilding effort." Biden asserted that "the best way to bring stability to Afghanistan is finally to expand the United Nations-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)" - something the United States has been reluctant to do so far even though Congress authorized $1 billion for the expansion of ISAF under the 2002 Afghan Freedom Support Act.
According to the New York Times, officials at NATO headquarters said they could send an additional 2,000 to 10,000 peacekeepers into larger provincial cities in Afghanistan. Gunter Pleuger, Germany's ambassador to the UN, recently said that the force could operate in eight regional cities to help with the stabilization of Afghanistan before the June 2004 elections, reports the New York Times.
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. . . .