An Afghan girls school was attacked yesterday in the Logar province, the most recent in a series of attacks on girls' education in Afghanistan. Armed men tied up two school guards and set the Padkhwai Raghani School building and two tents on fire. Local men are being questioned, but authorities do not yet know who is responsible for the attack, according to BBC.
Girls were prohibited from attending school under the Taliban and were permitted to return to school when the Taliban were ousted in 2001. However, over 40 girls schools have been bombed, set on fire, or violently attacked in Afghanistan since 2001, causing some families to keep their daughters at home out of fear. Currently, the resurgence of the Taliban, the continuing influence of extremist warlords, and lack of security are placing women and girls at extreme risk of violence and intimidation.
School Principal Zaher Din plans to resume classes on Saturday for the 665 girls aged seven to 15. One 12-year-old student, Farida, grieved, “Why did they only burn the girls school? Why not the boys’ school next door? The police must protect us. We want to be able to study,” reports The Times.
The continued intimidation of girls returning to school demonstrates the need for the expansion of peacekeeping and security forces in Afghanistan.
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. . . .