The House of Representatives passed the 2006 military authorization bill late yesterday without an amendment to restrict women’s roles in the military. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), who proposed an amendment initially that would have required Congress to vote on any expansion of women in combat positions, offered a scaled back version yesterday, requiring 60 days’ notice given to Congress before a position is opened or closed to women, reports the New York Times. The amendment also asks that the defense secretary review the implementation of the 1994 policy on women in combat.
The Washington Post reports that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disagreed with previous versions of the amendment, likely because of the outcry from military leadership, and that Rumsfeld worked with Hunter to eliminate any ban on women’s service from the legislation. Congresswoman Heather A. Wilson (R-NM), the only female veteran in Congress, told the Post that with men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Congress “should not do anything to indicate that we do not appreciate their service.” Congresswoman Ellen O. Tauscher (D-CA) called the passed version “an improvement,” but said, “This situation is like the schoolyard bully taking your lunch money, getting caught, giving you half back, and then asking you to thank him for it.”
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. . . .