Today's Headline News

 Kentucky Clerk Jailed for Defying Order to Marry Gay Couples
A Kentucky county clerk found in contempt of court was jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses in wake of the Supreme Court decision to allow gays to wed, USA Today reported September 3. 
U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning placed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in the custody of U.S. marshals until she complies, saying fines were not enough to force her to comply with his previous order to provide the paperwork to all couples and allowing her to defy the order would create a "ripple effect."
Davis, who was tearful at times, testified that she could not obey the order because God's law trumps the court.

Pope Advises Priests to Pardon Women Who Have Had Abortions
Pope Francis has opened the door for women who have received abortions – an act considered a grave sin by the Catholic church – to be absolved if they express contrition and seek forgiveness from their priest, the Guardian and other papers are reporting Sept. 1. “The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented,” the pontiff wrote in an extraordinary letter that was released by the Vatican on Tuesday. “I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal,” he added. However, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health criticized the move. Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the group, said in a statement: "These statements perpetuate the notion that a person who has ended a pregnancy must be ashamed, and contributes to culturally pervasive and deeply harmful abortion stigma. As an organization committed to Latina health and reproductive justice, we reject any attempt to impose judgement or shame on someone based on deeply personal decisions about health, pregnancy, and whether to become a parent."

House Democrats Demand Research Into Feminine Hygiene Products
House Democrats are calling on the National Institutes of Health to research possible health risks linked to feminine hygiene products, The Hill reported Aug. 31. In a letter, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and six of her House colleagues asked NIH Director Francis Collins to determine whether dioxins, synthetic fibers and chlorine in tampons and other feminine products pose any risk to women.In addition to new research, they're asking the NIH to detail past research related to women’s health and feminine hygiene product safety.

Michigan Health Facility Agrees to Pregnancy Accommodations
A Michigan longterm health care facility has settled a lawsuit over pregnancy discrimination, the American Civil Liberties Union said in an Aug. 31 press statement. As part of the settlement, Hope Healthcare Center has agreed to implement a policy accommodating pregnant employees. The terms of the agreement are otherwise confidential.

San Francisco Finds Trafficking Victims Mainly Young, Sold for Sex
In the last six months of 2014, San Francisco hosted  291 known or suspected survivors of human trafficking, with the majority minors or "transitional aged" youth. The Aug. 31 report trafficking report finds that the majority of survivors, 78 percent, were identified as sex trafficking survivors; 8 percent as labor trafficking survivors. The report is described as the first systematic attempt to track human trafficking in the city of San Francisco.  

N.H. Prep School Grad Found Not Guilty of Felony Rape
Owen Labrie, a former student at an elite New Hampshire prep school, was acquitted Aug. 28 of felony sexual assault against a freshman, NBC News reported. Labrie, now 19, was convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault and a single felony count of using a computer to seduce a minor under age 16. He was accused of raping a freshman girl in May 2014 at their boarding academy, the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord.

Planned Parenthood Raises Questions About Sting Videos
Planned Parenthood claimed Aug. 27 that undercover videos of its employees published by the Center for Medical Progress contained hidden edits that raise new questions the full context of recordings, Time reported. An analysis of the sting videos, undertaken by consulting firm Fusion GPS at Planned Parenthood’s direction, revealed at least 42 splices where video content had been edited out, but conversation appeared seamless.

Hillary Clinton Calls Out GOP Stance on Women's Health 
Hillary Clinton compared her Republican rivals’ views on women’s health issues to those of “terrorist groups” in a Cleveland speech on Aug. 27, ABC News reported. She specifically named Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s position to make all abortions illegal even in case of rape and incest and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's position—along with many of his GOP opponents—to defund Planned Parenthood. “Extreme views about women, we expect them from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies,” Clinton said.

U.S. Job Shortage Seen Worse for Women: Ms Foundation Survey 
On Women’s Equality Day, the national holiday commemorating passage of the 19thAmendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Ms. Foundation for Women released a poll on the state of women’s equality, new findings on adopting the “feminist” label, and a fresh understanding of how the public feels about community problems and solutions. In a press statement, the foudnation says the survey is the first of its kind to examine whether the public believes specific issues have different impacts on women versus men. Economic hardships are found to be at the core of problems both women and men rank as the highest priorities in their communities; such as the high cost of health care, too many people struggling to make ends meet, and a shortage of good jobs. While most think economic issues affect men and women in equal proportions, about 26 percent see a shortage of good jobs disproportionately affecting women. Only 8 percent say a lack of good-paying jobs affects more men. “There’s an awareness that economic issues disproportionately affect women that I did not fully expect,” says Tresa Undem, who conducted the survey. “How the economy affects women specifically is not something we hear a lot about. But it is clearly something many people recognize firsthand.”

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