Afghan President Hamid Karzai's new cabinet currently includes no women. President Karzai did not reappoint the three women who had previously served in his 25-member cabinet. The one woman he did choose to be minister of women’s affairs was rejected by the Afghan parliament. Moreover, Karzai did not appoint any women to the Supreme Court.
An aide to Karzai who spoke to the New York Times on the condition of anonymity said that since women had won guaranteed representation in parliament, there was no longer any need to give them “special appointments” to the cabinet.
“While establishing quotas to ensure women's inclusion is one necessary step, it isn't sufficient. The inclusion of women in government and persistent legislative and judicial reform will be imperative to ensuring that Afghanistan becomes a true representative democracy,” wrote Isobel Coleman, director of the Women and US Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Swanee Hunt director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, in a join op ed published in the Christian Science Monitor. “Women's inclusion in Afghanistan's government, which the international community has been using as an indicator of democratic progress, is actually regressing.”
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. . . .