Afghan Women Demand Equal Rights For Women in Constitution
Female delegates attending Afghanistan's Loya Jirga succeeded in winning an agreement to replace the words "citizens of Afghanistan" with the expression "women and men" in one of the articles in the Constitution regarding education. The current draft lacks language that defines "citizens" as both women and men. According to Eurasia Net, female delegates are hoping that the replacement of "Afghan citizens" with "Afghan men and women" will be made throughout the constitution.
A female delegate from the Balkh Province is urging that an article on women's rights be added to the constitution as well as a provision to ban trafficking of women. The current draft of the constitution leaves women's rights in many areas vulnerable to interpretation of Islam. In addition, it does not contain language to protect women from forced marriage, early marriage, or protect women's property rights.
Meanwhile, the lack of security in Afghanistan was highlighted today when two rockets hit Kabul as delegates gathered to continue debate on the new constitution, reports the Associated Press. According to the New York Times, the United States recently announced that they will expand the provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) into the south and southeast of the country. While the focus of these teams is supposed to be security, the teams include only 50-70 personnel and PRTs are not allowed to intervene to prevent human rights violations or to keep peace between rival factions. Women's rights and human rights organizations have argued that deployment of more PRTs with their current size and mandate are not an adequate response to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the continued widespread human rights violations and should not be considered a replacement for full-scale expansion of international peacekeeping forces throughout the country.
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. . . .