UNICEF: Violence and Sexual Exploitation Continue in Sudan
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports that rape is still being used as a weapon to terrorize women and girls, their families, and their communities in Darfur, Sudan. According to Pamela Shifman, the UNICEF advisor on violence and sexual exploitation, every woman and girl that she met while in the Darfur camps said that they had been sexually assaulted themselves, or knew of someone who had been attacked, reports UN News Service.
Shifman wrote in her diary posted on UNICEF’s website that the women and girls she spoke to while in the camps in Darfur stated that they need security because they are not safe. According to Shifman, “So many women told the same story: they are terrified to leave to get firewood…soldiers prey on women and girls along the path to collect firewood. And the cruel part is the women and the girls have no choice but to take that dangerous path for their survival.”
Up to as many as 1.5 million people have been internally displaced and another 500,000 have fled to Chad since Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, started attacking villages last year. According to Reuters, the United Nations estimates that as many as 70,000 people have died from malnutrition and disease over the last seven months alone.
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. . . .