Congress and International Organizations Urge Women's Rights and Security
At a House hearing on Afghanistan and its draft constitution, several members of Congress, administration officials, and representatives of international organizations pressed for more protections for women's rights in the constitution and security in Afghanistan. The Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor the State Department Lorne Craner stated, "though the draft makes wide provision for the equal rights of all citizens before the law, the draft does not include a definition of who is a citizen, and does not state that both men and women are citizens." Craner also stated that "more specifics need to be mentioned, such as outlawing discrimination against women, forced and underage marriages, full rights of marriage, divorce, and inheritance for women so that their rights are preserved and protected from possible extremist interpretations."
T. Kumar, Advocacy Director for Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International USA, stated that he found it shocking to see that there is "no mention of women's rights" in the current draft of the constitution. Kumar and Representative Rohrabacher (R-CA) also expressed concerns that "citizen" is not defined as both male and female Afghans to ensure equal access to rights. In fact, Rohrabacher went on to say that the constitution needs to have a bill of rights that ensure that "women have equal rights."
Amnesty International USA recommended that the Bush Administration increase its financial assistance to rebuild Afghanistan with earmarks for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and the Judicial Commission.
The Vice President of the International Crisis Group and Amnesty International USA urged the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) size and mandate to keep Afghanistan from becoming a failed state.
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. . . .