President Bush on Monday nominated Republican Mike Leavitt to replace Tommy Thompson as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Leavitt is a former Governor of Utah and currently the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Over the course of his tenure as Governor of Utah, Leavitt signed several pieces of legislation restricting women’s right to choose a safe, legal, and accessible abortion. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, Leavitt signed bills into law that imposed a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion, required women to seek counseling before obtaining an abortion that included biased materials, and included “unborn child[ren]” as included under the state’s homicide statute. Leavitt’s administration also defended in court a 1991 law that prohibited abortion except in cases of rape, incest, life endangerment, grave danger to the woman’s health, or serious fetal defects, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. This law was later struck down by federal courts.
“I am strongly pro-life and anti-abortion,” Leavitt said in 1993, according to NARAL. “I believe in the sanctity of life at whatever stage of development that life is in.” In 1997, Leavitt said he wanted Utah to have the “toughest abortion law” in the nation, NARAL reports. In 1982 and 1988, Leavitt served as Senator Orrin Hatch’s campaign manager and chair of his campaign respectively. Hatch, a Republican, is a longtime opponent of abortion rights.
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .