Afghan Women's Rights Editor on Trial for Blasphemy
Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the male editor of a women's rights magazine in Afghanistan who was arrested and jailed on October 1, is now on trial on charges of blasphemy. Nasab was arrested for publishing articles criticizing execution and other severe punishments for adultery, thievery, and murder under Sharia (Islamic) law. Nasab was reportedly arrested at the urging of Mohaiuddin Baluch, who serves as a religious advisor to President Hamid Karzai. Religious fundamentalists are calling for Nasab to serve 10 to 15 years in jail.
“This is of grave concern,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “The United States is telling the world that the US is supporting women’s rights and democracy in Afghanistan. Freedom of speech is fundamental to women’s rights and democracy.”
“The arrest and trial of Ali Mohaqiq Nasab on blasphemy charges is a giant step backward for press freedom in Afghanistan,” said Ann Cooper, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, which has been following Nasab’s case very closely. “Nasab should be released immediately and without condition.”
The Feminist Majority is calling on women’s rights supporters in the United States to email Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky to seek the immediate release of Ali Mohaqiq Nasab and to urge the global community to join them in their efforts.
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. . . .