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Iran women being reduced to ‘baby-making machines’: Amnesty International

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Draft legislation aimed at boosting a flagging birth rate threatens to reduce Iranian women to “baby-making machines” and set their rights back by decades, Amnesty International warned on Wednesday.

The London-based human rights group said that a first bill, which has already been approved once by parliament, would restrict access to contraception, forcing women into unsafe backstreet abortions.

It said the second draft law, which is to go before parliament next month, would close many jobs to women who choose not to or are unable to have children.

“The proposed laws will entrench discriminatory practices and set the rights of women and girls in Iran back by decades,” said Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.

“The authorities are promoting a dangerous culture in which women are stripped of key rights and viewed as baby-making machines rather than human beings with fundamental rights to make choices about their own bodies and lives.”

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The draft legislation comes in response to a call by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to double Iran’s population to 150 million within 50 years.

Iranian officials have expressed alarm at its ageing population, with an official at the national birth registry, Mohammad Nazemi Ardekani, warning last April the population growth rate could fall to zero “within 30 years”.

The bill, which is now undergoing amendment, would ban voluntary sterilisation and end state subsidies for contraceptive services.

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Amnesty said it would inevitably lead to an increase in backstreet terminations in a country where abortion is illegal except in very limited circumstances.

The second bill would require both public and private employers to give priority to men and women with children when hiring for certain jobs.

It would also make divorce more difficult and restrict intervention by the state in family disputes, which Amnesty said would expose women to increased risks of domestic violence.

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Women currently make up around 60 percent of university students in Iran and 10 percent of economically active women are employed, according to official figures.


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White nationalism is ‘the greatest threat to American democracy’: Fascism expert

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," The Atlantic staff writer and fascism expert Adam Serwer laid out in grim terms the stakes of President Donald Trump's incitement of racist anger against Democratic congresswomen of color.

"From the beginning, we have been haunted by this question: Is America a white man’s republic or a nation for all of its citizens?" said Serwer. "Throughout the last 200-some odd years, the greatest threat to American democracy has always been white nationalism, the defining of American citizenship in racial terms. It almost destroyed the country on multiple occasions. Now President Trump has drawn a line. He has now made it clear that the citizenship of American citizens who are not white is conditional and can be revoked. Quite frankly, there is lots of disagreement between the two political parties. There are lots of issues on which we differ, but this is not a question on which there can actually be disagreement. The choice is now quite clear."

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‘A failure in judgment by every single Republican leader’: Ex-GOP congressman scorches Trump’s racism

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) laid into his erstwhile party for its embrace of President Donald Trump's racial hatred and intolerance, as exemplified by the crowd of Trump rallygoers in Greenville, North Carolina chanting "Send Her Back!" of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

"It was heartbreaking," said Jolly, who renounced the Republican Party and became an independent last year. "In terms of what I felt, it was heartbreak, both last night and then to see the likes of Lindsey Graham [(R-SC)] today suggest that the only problem is Omar doesn’t wear a MAGA hat. If refugees would just wear MAGA hats, they could stay. The others deserve to go."

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2020 Election

Bernie Sanders’ staff demand to be paid the $15-an-hour minimum wage he advocates: report

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Campaign workers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are demanding an increase in pay consistent with the senator's campaign rhetoric, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

"Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications," the newspaper reported.

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