Women in Afghanistan still face violence and abuse both within their families and at the hands of the police or judicial system, according to a new report from Amnesty International. The report, entitled Afghanistan: Women Under Attack, was based on interviews with women throughout Afghanistan and found that mistreatment is widespread and largely unpunished. This report came out just days after the murder of Shaima Rezayee, a television host who drew the ire of religious conservatives, and after the murders of three aid workers.
The author of the report, Nazia Hussein, stated that "a lot of women told us they had hoped things would change rapidly for the better after the overthrow of the Taleban, so there is a sense of disappointment," according to BBC News. While there have been some improvements in the cities, women in rural areas continue to suffer, and suicides seem to have risen in response to domestic violence or forced marriage, reports Agence France-Presse. Sheila Dauer, Director of Amnesty International USA's Women's Human Rights Program explained in a press release that "resilient social customs that discriminate against women, combined with the lack of an effective criminal justice system, sometimes leave women no where to turn, so they use desperate measures like suicide as a means of escape."
The Amnesty report calls on the government of Afghanistan to undertake an educational program promoting women's rights, and asks the international community to support Afghanistan's efforts to rebuild the country and create security for its citizens. Security was the primary concern of Jamilah Mujahed, director of a Kabul radio station called Voice of Women. Mujahed told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that "there are still irresponsible armed people in charge in Afghanistan's provinces. They have power. And in such conditions, of course, the situation of women has not improved."
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. . . .