Afghan women candidates in the upcoming September 18 parliamentary elections are running despite threatening letters and phone calls demanding that they withdraw from the election. In Logar province, one female candidate’s door was set on fire, while in Helmand province, letters offering a US $4,000 reward for killing female candidates were given out, according to The Washington Post. Mahmoud Shah, a cousin of and campaigner for candidate Noorzia Charkhi, received a death threat letter at his home. Commenting on the incident, Charkhi said, “I’m not going to quit, because I want to show people that a woman should be able to do these things. But definitely I fear for my life…,” reports The Washington Post.
Female candidates also face limited access to resources to pay for registration, lack of information about nomination criteria and process, and restricted mobility, as well as cultural norms not supportive of women in public role, according to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) elections report. As a result of these problems, 50 female candidates have resigned their candidacy, and in some conservative provinces such as Uruzgan, no women are signed up to run at all.
Some 237 women are running for seats on provincial councils, which will then appoint one-third of the seats in the upper house of parliament. Only 12 percent of candidates for the lower house of parliament are women, though 27 percent of seats in that body are reserved for women.
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. . . .