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Posts tagged ‘State Department’

Health Care for Raped Soldiers

Dear Gabriel,

This is shocking, even for our U.S. Congress.

If a female employee of the U.S. State Department is raped while serving abroad in Afghanistan, her federal health plan will pay for an abortion should she become pregnant. However if a woman serving abroad as a member of the U.S. military is raped, her military health plan will NOT provide for an abortion if she becomes pregnant as a result of that violent and reprehensible act.

According to a report earlier this year from Mother Jones, the Pentagon has an even more drastic policy on access to abortion than the Hyde Amendment which bans the use of federal funds for abortion care unless a woman has been the victim of rape, incest or she could literally die unless she her pregnancy is terminated.

This disparity is so unsettling that the Senate passed out of committee the “Shaheen Amendment” to give women in the military the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as the civilians they protect. But if passed by the full Senate, the extremists in Congress will try to block this proposal from the National Defense Authorization Act when it comes up for a vote in the House. The only way we can hope to stop it is with massive public pushback.

Click here to sign this petition automatically.

According to Kate Sheppard’s report in Mother Jones,2 there are 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military and in 2011 alone there were 471 reported instances of rape. But with the Pentagon itself estimating that only 13.5% of rapes are officially reported, that means around 3,500 service members are raped per year.

Women who are serving on military bases abroad can’t simply go to their local Planned Parenthood should they seek an abortion after finding themselves pregnant as a result of rape. And if there hasn’t been a formal finding of rape, a rape survivor in the military can’t even pay to have the procedure done in the medical facility on base. Many women serving in our armed forces are stationed in foreign countries where safe abortion care is not easily obtained outside our military bases. And it may not be possible or affordable for a raped woman soldier to travel to the United States in order to receive the care she needs. Our policies need to be reformed to ensure that women in the military who have been raped have access to the medical care they need.

As Senator Jean Shaheen who introduced the change to this heinous policy explained to Mother Jones, “Most of the women affected here are enlisted women who are making about $18,000 a year. They’re young, they don’t have access to a lot of resources. Many of them are overseas.”

A handful of Republicans in the Senate realized that protecting rape survivors is not a partisan issue and joined Democrats to pass this bill out of committee and work to provide relief to women in our armed services. But their colleagues in the House will not join them in helping to pass this much needed bill unless we force them to take action. We need to tell Republicans as well as anti-choice Democrats in the House (including the so-called Stupak Democrats who voted against women’s reproductive health in the Affordable Care Act)3 that we cannot let this policy stand.

CREDO is a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose and we will continue to work for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. But until then, even in our polarized Congress which is packed with anti-choice zealots, there are some lines that Republicans and anti-choice Democrats should be very afraid to cross. This is one of them. We cannot stand by and let women serving in the U.S. military be subjected to a stricter standard for abortion access than the already horribly restrictive Hyde Amendment.

Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6900213&p=military_choice&id=51136-266627-EiedzDx&t=10

This is one we can win if enough of us speak out. Thank you for taking action.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Our Oceans’ Health

Tell the State Department that you care about the health of our oceans and urge them to either take the lead on establishing a network of marine reserves or to get out of the way this summer.

Dear Gabriel,

There’s almost no protection at all for the world’s oceans. And it shows…

Companies like Chicken of the Sea are pushing some tuna and shark species to the brink of extinction in the Pacific Ocean with their destructive fishing practices.
Industrial fishing vessels are destroying the breathtaking coral habitats of the Bering Sea canyons and putting an entire ecosystem at risk.
Japanese, Icelandic and Norwegian whaling vessels continue to ignore international law and kill thousands of majestic whales from the Southern Ocean to the North Atlantic each year.
These challenges can be addressed together with a single solution — a network of fully protected marine reserves. So why is the State Department standing in the way?

It’s time they took action to protect our oceans. Urge them to take the lead in establishing a network of marine reserves before it’s too late.

Right now, less than one percent of the world’s oceans are set aside as marine reserves. That’s why we’re working on a global agreement which would allow the international community to establish a network of marine reserves on the high seas. Unfortunately, the US government seems to be standing in the way of these efforts by refusing to join along with other countries who are in favor of developing a new agreement to create a network of marine reserves.

The high seas are like the Wild West at the moment. It might be good for the companies that are making billions off the destruction, but it is killing our oceans. If we don’t start protecting and managing our oceans they aren’t going to survive. Marine reserves are a proven and cost effective tool for protecting biodiversity, rebuilding fish populations, and enhancing fisheries in surrounding areas.

The best chance we have to get the international community on the right path toward creating a network of protected areas is this summer in Brazil. The US delegation is developing their position right now. It’s the perfect time to let them know you are paying attention.

A global network of fully protected marine reserves would benefit sea turtles, whales, tuna, seals, narwhals and any other creature (including humans) that you can think of. We’ll be at the meetings this summer working hard for this outcome. Without your support, it won’t matter.

Send your letter to the State Department today and tell them that we need the US to join the G77, the European Union, and most of the rest of the world in standing up for marine reserves.

Thanks for your help.

John Hocevar
Greenpeace USA Ocean Campaign Director

Help Stop Keystone

Dear Gabriel,

Lisa Jackson and the EPA are our best hope of strong opposition to Keystone XL from within the administration.It’s clear by now that there’s simply no hope of the State Department issuing a legitimate evaluation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Sometime in the next week, the EPA will issue its review of the State Department’s Final Environmental Impact Report.

Strong opposition from his own EPA will be essential if we’re going to convince President Obama to reject this horrible pipeline.

Tell EPA chief Lisa Jackson: Reject the State Department’s sham review of Keystone XL. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

The EPA has already roundly criticized the first two drafts of the State Department’s environmental impact report, in April, and again in June.

But of course, it’s not really even the State Department’s review. A major New York Times article last week exposed the massive conflict of interest that we’ve been telling you about for weeks: that the environmental review, and local hearing process, were actually conducted by Cardno Entrix, a contracting company with major business ties to pipeline developer TransCanada.

The corrupt, biased process has glossed over the significant threats from this pipeline to American lands and waters, and the broader threat of major escalation of global warming pollution by rapidly developing and burning tar sands oil.

We’re depending on the EPA to make those threats clear.

Tell EPA chief Lisa Jackson: Reject the State Department’s sham review of Keystone XL. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

As evidence of conflict of interest and improper relationships has grown, everyone is trying to avoid taking responsibility for this decision. President Obama has said he delegated it to the State Department. Secretary of State Clinton is sending signals she may delegate the decision to a deputy to avoid taking responsibility for it herself.

Any way you slice it, the decision is really in the President’s hands. However, if the State Department does approve the project, the EPA literally has the power to force a final decision by President Obama, by formally opposing the approval.

The EPA is our best chance to be the voice of sanity in the administration, and urge the president to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Send a message to Lisa Jackson now, before she issues her environmental review of the State Department sham in the coming week.

Tell EPA chief Lisa Jackson: We’re depending on you to strongly oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline! Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Thank you for fighting the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Syrian Attacks

AP Newsire – 8/25/11

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. demanded Thursday that Bashar Assad’s government in Syria stop brutalizing peaceful opponents and in particular criticized its “targeted, brutal attack” on the country’s most popular cartoonist.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland had especially harsh words for the Assad regime regarding cartoonist Ali Ferzat, who is also a longtime human rights advocate, in a statement issued after the department had closed for the day.

“The regime’s thugs focused their attention on Ferzat’s hands, beating them furiously and breaking one of them — a clear message that he should stop drawing,” the statement said.

The statement came a week after President Barack Obama demanded explicitly that Assad resign because he had lost legitimacy as a ruler. That demand was in conjunction with similar moves by major U.S. allies such as Britain, France, Germany and the European Union.

In her statement, Nuland said: “Many other moderate activists who oppose violence have been jailed for speaking out against the regime, including Walid al-Buni, Nawaf Basheer, Georges Sabra, Mohammed Ghaliyoun and Abdullah al-Khalil. Some have been held incommunicado for months.

“While making empty promises about dialogue with the Syrian people, the Assad regime continues to carry out brutal attacks against peaceful Syrians trying to exercise their universal right to free expression,” Nuland continued. “We demand that the Assad regime immediately stop its campaign of terror through torture, illegal imprisonment and murder.”

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