The Pakistan Supreme Court reopened the case of gang-rape victim Mukhtar Mai (also known as Mukhtaran Bibi) yesterday following pressure from human rights groups and governments worldwide. The Supreme Court ordered the re-arrest of the 13 original suspects, overturning a high court ruling that acquitted five of six men arrested in the case.
In June 2002, Bibi was gang raped on the order of a council of tribal leaders as punishment for disgrace caused by her brother's alleged "illicit affair" with a woman of a higher tribal class. Four men, including a member of the court, raped Bibi before hundreds of spectators in the village of Meerwala.
Mai's case also generated international outrage when she was prevented from leaving the country under orders from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who feared she would project a "bad image" of Pakistan, according to the Washington Post. Mai's willingness to speak out about her experience has raised international concern about violence against women in Pakistan and has made her a hero to Pakistan women. She is hopeful about the outcome of the case, saying, "I am happy and I hope those who humiliated me will be punished," reports The Washington Post.
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. . . .