Women's Rights Leaders Speak Out on Violence Against Women
At a Congressional Forum on International Women's Rights and Security yesterday, several Congresswomen and women's rights leaders asserted that more work needs to be done to end violence against women around the world. Sponsored by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), the forum featured Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Hilda Solis (D-CA). Rep. Schahowsky stated that there has been a growing recognition among the women in Congress of abuses against women internationally. "All of us have to take on the responsibility [to work against women's rights abuses] ...because if we don't no one will."
Regarding Afghanistan, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, asserted that the United States policies and the policies of the developed world "must change." Last week, at the release of the Global Women's Issues Scorecard, Smeal stated that "the Bush Administration's statements have been very strong on the topics of women's rights in the Afghan Constitution, security, and reconstruction in Afghanistan. However, these strong statements have not been met with action." Smeal also said, "Though women's rights are guaranteed in the Afghan Constitution, they are very fragile ... on the ground, the lack of security makes women's already fragile rights even weaker."
According to Dr. Lynn Amawitz of Physicians for Human Rights there were two reported honor killings a day in Nasirya, Iraq during her ten-day stay there. It is unknown how many unreported killings occurred during this period. Amawitz stated that she was unsure exactly how prevalent honor killings were in Southern Iraq but she was sure they were common events. According to Kelly Hayes-Raitt, of the Community Campaign in Iraq, the impact of the war in Iraq has fallen heavily on women because over one million Iraqi men have been killed over the past decade, leaving women to be the victims of the current of war. Hayes-Raitt noted that "in spite of the fact the United States dropped bombs on all the ministries" the only one that did not get bombed was the Ministry of Oil.
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, human rights workers and doctors are finding cases of young women in Afghanistan who have set themselves on fire as a way to escape family life and the tribal traditions they are forced to endure such as forced marriage to men as much as three times their age.
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. . . .