US Cuts Aid to Ecuador Over International Criminal Court
The United States is withholding millions of dollars in military aid to Ecuador because of Ecuador's reluctance to sign an agreement with the US that would grant US military immunity from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Last July, the US stated that it would freeze military aid, such as the $15 million for Ecuador, to nations that would not enter into bilateral agreements in which the countries agree never to surrender American nationals to trials on war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.
According to the International Press Service, US officials last week used the first intergovernmental conference on genocide to be held since 1948 to lobby against the ICC. Fifty-five countries signed a declaration on ways to fight genocide, and the ICC is the body that would be used to try crimes such as genocide. Due to the pressure from the United States, the declaration did not even mention the International Criminal Court as a vehicle with which to prevent and try crimes against humanity such as genocide and ethnic cleansing, reports the Associated Press.
The ICC has widespread support in the US from groups such as the Feminist Majority because it identifies gender crimes and the crime of apartheid as crimes against humanity. Article 7 of the Rome Statute, which created the court, presents clear language that defines rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity as gender crimes. 132 countries have signed onto the treaty establishing the ICC. The United States is currently the only industrialized country that has not signed the treaty.
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. . . .