Thousands of Girls Forced to Fight With Armed Groups
A new report shows that current efforts to release children from armed groups often overlook the fact that over 120,000 girls have been abducted and forced to fight with armed groups around the world. According to the Save the Children report “Forgotten Casualties of War: Girls in Armed Conflict,” girls as young as eight years old are being forced to be sex slaves or so-called “wives” of commanders.
The report shows that approximately 300,000 children are involved in armed conflict around the world today, and up to 40 percent of them are girls. In addition to being sexually violated by armed groups, girls are forced to take an active part in fighting. They also take on other duties such as cleaning and providing medical care.
Save the Children finds that the international community’s efforts to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate (DDR) armed groups are failing because of discrimination against girls. DDR programs often ignore the problems girls specifically face, such as being ostracized by their families because they are often seen by their families as being promiscuous and dirty. In addition, only a very small percentage of girls participate in the formal DDR processes. In Sierra Leone, Save the Children found that only 4.2 percent of girls in armed groups went through the formal DDR process.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .