Eleven Afghans connected to a USAID-funded project have been killed this week in two separate attacks as violence against humanitarian aid workers is escalating daily. Five Afghans working for the US company Chemonics International were killed Wednesday in Helmud Province, according to the Associated Press. Within just 24 hours, six more Afghans with connections to Chemonics International were killed in the southern province of Kabul by suspected Taliban militants, AP reports.
Chemonics International is working in Afghanistan on irrigation projects focused on providing alternative crops for farmers who are growing poppies. A spokeswoman for the company said that they are “assessing the situation” to determine if they will continue their work in Afghanistan, according to BBC News.
Meanwhile, a man who claims to have kidnapped an Italian CARE International employee earlier this week is now saying that he killed her, but Afghan officials deny the claim, according to Reuters.
A report released this month by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO) and CARE raises serious concerns about staff working in the field in Afghanistan. According to the report, “NGO Insecurity in Afghanistan,” “the unprecedented number” of fatalities among workers for non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian assistance is impacting their ability to reach those who need assistance. The report concludes that “NGO insecurity is linked to wider, prevalent insecurity across Afghanistan. Unless and until this wider insecurity is addressed, NGO staff will continue to be a target, making it difficult to reach all those in need.”
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. . . .