Women Lawmakers Keep Afghan Women Funding in Supplemental
Women members of the House and Senate succeeded in their fight to keep language in the Iraq and Afghanistan Emergency Supplemental appropriations package that provides funds for programs for women and for human rights. In conference committee negotiations, some male lawmakers tried to delete $60 million designated for women's programs in the Afghanistan reconstruction package, claiming that this amount was too large of a portion of the overall $1.2 billion Afghan reconstruction package.
After contentious debate, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mary Landreiu (D-LA), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) succeeded in keeping the funding for women's programs, along with $5 million earmarked for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, in the bill. According to the Washington Post, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) challenged her male colleagues who attempted to take out the money, asking how they could eliminate funding for the "brutalized women of Afghanistan." "It's been stripped out. Who ever heard of such a thing?" said Landreiu.
Introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the Afghan women's program funding amendment passed the House on a voice vote with bi-partisan support. The funds were authorized last year in an amendment by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to the Afghan Freedom Support Act of 2002.
Women's rights, human rights, and Afghan groups have criticized the Bush Administration for shortchanging Afghanistan's reconstruction. While Congress added $400 million more to Afghanistan's reconstruction than requested by President Bush, the spending for Iraq's reconstruction is 20 times more than Iraq's despite the fact that the two countries are the same size and Afghanistan has suffered more destruction over 23 years of war.
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. . . .