Leading Afghan Woman Receives Prestigious Health and Human Rights Award
During the Global Health Council's (GHC) annual conference, a leading Afghan women’s rights and human rights advocate received the 2004 Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights. Dr. Sima Samar, Chair of the Independent Human Rights Commission in Afghanistan, is a physician who defied Taliban edicts and provided Afghan women and girls with health care services and education. After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Samar served as Minister of Women's Affairs, one of only two women cabinet members in Afghanistan's transition government. In 2003, Samar was named a "Woman of the Year" by Ms. magazine, and she recently received a Profile in Courage Award from the Kennedy Library Foundation.
Samar is the founder and director of Afghanistan’s largest women-led NGO the Shuhada Organization. She also runs twelve clinics and four hospitals for women and children, as well as 55 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, serving 32,000 students. Her organization's programs encompass relief work and literacy education, as well as community education regarding family planning and sanitation.
Bush Administration officials rescinded funding for the GHC conference, entitled “Youth and Health: Generation on the Edge,” because Republican staff members and right-wing groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition complained to the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services that the conference promotes abortion. The president of the GHC, Nils Daulaire, accused the Bush Administration for bowing to political pressure over the abortion issue stating that the withdrawal of funding “sacrificed the principles of participation and respectful dialogue to spurious allegations,” reports the Washington Post.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .