Iraqi women are no better off now than they were under the rule of former dictator Saddam Hussein according to a report released on Monday by Amnesty International. Nearly two years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the report, “'Iraq: Decades of Suffering," asserts that although the brutal oppression of women under Hussein has ended, there has been an increase in murder and sexual abuse.
While President Bush promised a democratic Iraq free of oppression, the report contends that postwar insecurity has continued to leave women at risk of violence and without freedoms, reports Reuters. “Since the 2003 war,” the report states, “women’s rights activists and political leaders have been threatened by armed groups and a number have been killed… Gender discrimination in Iraqi laws contributes to the persistence of violence against women.” Amnesty International also charges that Iraqi women have been at risk of abuse by US led forces. The report states that several women detainees have “reported beatings, threats of rape, humiliating treatment and long periods of solitary confinement” after their release from detention. Amnesty International, joined by women’s rights organizations, has stressed the need for US-led multinational forces to improve safeguards for women in detention, and to investigate the alleged abuses.
In a press release on Tuesday, Abdel Salam Sidahmed, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program said, "Iraqi authorities must introduce concrete measures to protect women… Most importantly, they must ensure that the new constitution and all Iraqi legislation contain prohibitions to redress all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence against women."
Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International’s founder and CEO, said, “History has shown that when women play a role in the formation of new governments, those nations are more stable and more successful in the long run,” according to Salon.com. A recent survey conducted by Women for Women International found that high percentages of Iraqi women look forward to having part in the reconstruction of Iraq, reports Salon.com.
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. . . .