Ashcroft Opts Out of Aiding Guatemalan Asylum Seeker
US Attorney General John Ashcroft will neither grant nor deny asylum to a Guatemalan woman who fled her country after ten years of abuse at the hands of her husband, including being raped, whipped with electrical cords, and threatened with death. Rodi Alvarado Pena, whose case was taken by Ashcroft two years ago, will have to wait again because Ashcroft is leaving office without making a decision on her fate, reports the Associated Press.
According to the Associated Press, women’s rights and immigration rights advocates hoped that Alvarado’s case would have led to a change in current US policy regarding asylum cases filed by victims of domestic violence. Ashcroft had blocked a proposal by former Attorney General Janet Reno that would have allowed given victims of domestic violence grounds to seek asylum, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Advocates are continuing to urge the department of Homeland Security to issue guidelines that will regard gender-based persecution as a legitimate basis for asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security has recommended that Alvarado be granted asylum, reports the Associated Press, and Department spokesperson Bill Strassberger said that if Alvarado is denied asylum, the Department “will not pursue her removal from the United States.” However, without asylum status, Alvarado cannot be reunited with her children, who are still in Guatemala.
“As the President begins his second term, we urge him to put meaning behind his words of compassion for women facing violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, by quickly granting asylum to Rodi Alvarado and other women who are seeking to escape gender-based violence,” said Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund.
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. . . .