Conference in Kenya Urges African Government to Ban FGM
An international conference met to review progress made in the fight to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. The conference, organized by the Kenyan government and a group of non-governmental organizations, also called for efforts to ban the practice. Over 400 people, from doctors to former circumcisers, attended the conference, representing approximately forty countries. According to Agence France Presse, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki asserted that African governments “must continue our efforts to stop those who would continue the practice in the face of prohibitive legislations.”
Waris Dire, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) goodwill ambassador, stated that “in all cases, FGM victims are scarred for life. This amounts to an extremely serious human rights and medical violation. That is why stiffer sentences should be imposed to serve as a deterrent,” reports Xinhua Genderal News Service.
Part or all of a girl’s or woman’s genitalia are removed during FGM, which is usually performed as a rite of passage, reports Voice of America. The United Nations reports that two million girls are mutilated every year in Africa.
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. . . .