Women's rights activists in Iraq are sounding the alarm that certain freedoms, particularly freedom of dress and movement, exercised by women even under the regime of Saddam Hussein, are being degraded and threaten to disappear. Iraqi feminist activist Ban Jamil, who runs the Rasafa Branch of Assyrian Women Union, told Agence France Presse that “women cannot walk freely out in the street…[they] face a lack of respect when they walk uncovered.” Jinan Mubarak, who directs the Iraqi Center for Training and Employing Women, told AFP that now Iraqi women “cover and change the way we dress unwillingly due to pressure.” Those who are not willing to wear a veil are now unable to walk through certain neighborhoods.
Iraqi feminist activists also continue to be concerned with the status of women in the constitution. Nearly 200 women had protested in Baghdad in July to demand full equality in the new constitution. Most recently, during a discussion sponsored by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and the Iraqi Women’s Caucus, Iraq’s Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Azhar al-Sheikhly, stated her concern with the status of women’s rights in the new constitution, and Iraqi First Lady Hero Ibrahim Ahmed noted the potential dangers of deference to Islamic law in the creation of civil legal codes.
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. . . .