Last night at the Republican National Convention, Laura Bush, in an obvious appeal to women voters, stated that the Taliban has been removed from Afghanistan, allowing girls to go to school, and women to work. The speech grossly overstated the stability of the nation, as the country is still ravaged by violence, with armed militias and the Taliban itself returning.
Girls’ schools continue to be a target of the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups, with more than 30 attacked in the past two years. Shortly after the start of the current school year, three school girls in southeastern Afghanistan were poisoned with biscuits. The Taliban militia was blamed. According to UNICEF deputy executive director Karin Sham Poo, 4.2 million children are back in school, though girls comprise only 30 percent of primary school students. Further, UNICEF reports that there are still 1.5 million girls who are not benefiting from education, and there are many areas in Afghanistan were there are no schools at all, ININnews.org reports.
The First Lady also stated that 10 million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan, with women accounting for 40 percent. Unfortunately, these figures will not likely reflect the election turnout this October, as a Taliban spokesman said earlier this week that the Taliban has made an “appeal to civilians to stay away from the elections and places where the Americans and coalition are living and working” as ”they are our priority targets."
Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, said, “Don’t we wish that all is tranquil in Afghanistan? Instead, violence roams and the United States refuses to provide adequate peacekeeping troops.”
The Republican party’s appeal to women voters was undercut by Governor Schwarzenegger’s reference to those who are pessimistic about the economy as “economic girly-men.” “The constant use of this term cannot be ignored,” Smeal said. Despite a blatant appeal to the governor from gay rights and women’s rights groups earlier this summer, Schwarzenegger defiantly used the derogatory term again.
While Laura Bush gave her speech, delegates held signs that read “W stands for Women.” This rhetoric is in direct contradiction to the Bush administration’s record of limiting reproductive rights, attempting to weaken Title IX, under funding No Child Left Behind, and appointing right-wing, anti-women's rights nominees to the federal bench.
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. . . .