Several leading women's groups released a scorecard grading the Bush Administration on its policies in Iraq and Afghanistan that affect women, including women's political participation, health, and security. After announcing that President Bush received a “C” for rhetoric and an “F” for reality regarding women’s security in Afghanistan and Iraq, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, said that there has been a “tragedy of lost opportunity [in Afghanistan and Iraq, that] can still be turned around but we have to invest far more in security.” The administration needs to change its current policy of “giving too much power to reactionary leaders who will further oppress women,” according to Smeal. One of the reasons security is deteriorating in Afghanistan is because of our “strategy to depend upon so-called militias and warlords to provide security,” she said. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, Smeal said, “you have a mismanaged situation that is injuring women’s rights while [the Bush Administration’s] rhetoric supports women’s rights.”
Regarding women’s political participation, June Zeitlin, president of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) stated that there have been “minimal actions to include women as decision makers in both Iraq and Afghanistan.” According to the Scorecard, “by not fully integrating women in the peace building and political processes of both countries and failing to give high priority to women’s rights, [Bush Administration] ha[s] further entrenched women’s marginal status and lost an opportunity to fully demonstrate the potential of democracy.”
Jodi Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), stated that current US policies in Iraq have “made a bad situation worse” for women’s health. Jacobson noted that “50 women die each day of pregnancy and childbirth” in Afghanistan and that “since the invasion of Afghanistan, there has been little investment in health care and basic medical supplies.” Jacobson went on to assert that the current US threats to defund international bodies, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), only hurts women and girls in Afghanistan and Iraq because those organizations are “best posed to address” the health concerns for women and children in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Feminist Majority, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and the Communications Consortium Media Center (CCMC) previously released scorecards on the Bush Administration and global women’s issues in April 2004, March 2004, November 2003, and August 2003.
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. . . .