Female Delegates Win Clear Definition of Citizen in Afghanistan's Constitution
Female delegates of Afghanistan's Loya Jirga won one of their major demands. The final draft of the constitution now states that all citizens of Afghanistan, both men and women, have equal rights under the law. According to IRIN News, a female delegate said, "This is one of the major demands of women and we hope it will not be rejected or changed by others."
However, the Reconciliation Committee agreed to amend Article 3 of the Constitution to say that legislation cannot contravene "the beliefs and provisions" of Islam, reports the Associated Press. This leaves women's rights and human rights in many areas vulnerable to extreme interpretations of Islam. Efforts to weaken constitutional language requiring Afghanistan to abide by international treaties and conventions may also be under attack. In addition, it is unclear whether the current draft contains essential rights protections such as protection from forced marriage, early marriage, or trafficking.
According to the New York Times, the debate around the constitution has moved away from topics such as Islam, women's rights, and human rights and has turned to the struggle between the Pashtuns and the Tajiks. There has been fierce debate over the issues about the accountability of the president, the official languages of Afghanistan, and whether ministers can hold dual nationality, reports BBC News.
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. . . .