Several dozen foreign women were raped in the Ivory Coast over the past week as a result of recent anti-French riots. According to Agence France-Presse, the top French solider stationed in the Ivory Coast has confirmed the rapes. France’s Foreign Minister, Michel Barnier, said French authorities would prosecute anyone found guilty of rape, reports the Boston Globe.
France contributes forty percent of the 10,000 peacekeepers in France’s former colony. According to Bloomberg, the Ivory Coast is divided between a government-controlled south and a rebel-held north. The rebels seized the north in 2002 after failing to topple President Luarent Gbagbo. There was an 18-month cease-fire that was shattered after a bombing that took place in the north last week that killed nine peacekeepers, reports Reuters.
More than 5,000 foreigners have been flown out of Abidjan, Ivory Coast to France or neighboring African countries, approximately 10,000 Ivorians have fled to Liberia, and about 200 United Nations staff have left as African leaders seek a solution to the crisis, reports the The Associated Press.
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. . . .