Cheers and Jeers

House OKs Peace Corps Abortions; Libyan Activist Slain

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Republican-controlled House committee approved an extension of abortion coverage to Peace Corp volunteers. Also this week, a human rights activist in Benghazi was assassinated.

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Libyan human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis
Libyan human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis

Credit: Courtesy of VitalVoices.org

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

The House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote an amendment that will extend abortion coverage to Peace Corps volunteers who are raped during their service, reported . The GOP-controlled committee blocked the abortion coverage provision last year after the Senate tried to include it in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill. But no Republicans spoke out against the measure this week allowing the provision to be passed quickly by a voice vote.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the amendment last week. It now must pass the full House and Senate to be enacted.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Title IX, the law forbidding sexual discrimination in educational institutions receiving federal funds, turned 42 years old on June 23. During the 1971–1972 school year, the year before the legislation became law, fewer than 300,000 female teens participated in high school athletics. In 2010–2011, according to a from the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, the number of female athletes had climbed by more than 10-fold to nearly 3.2 million, close to 41 percent of all high school athletes, reported .

Three male basketball players from the University of Oregon have been suspended after the school found them guilty of sexual assault, reported . A female student alleged that the three men assaulted her at an off-campus party. The three men will be suspended from the university's campus for at least four years.

A proposed equal-rights amendment has qualified for Oregon's November ballot, reported . The measure would amend the state constitution to prohibit state and local governments from discriminating on the basis of gender.

A Sudanese woman who had been sentenced to death because she declined to renounce her Christian faith was freed, reported . Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, gave birth to a girl in a prison in the capital of Sudan last month, two weeks after she was sentenced to 100 lashes and to die by hanging. Her sentence had drawn international condemnation.

Several restaurants and cafes in Iran ignored a ban on broadcasting the World Cup, allowing women and men to enjoy the match between Iran and Argentina last weekend reported . Authorities in Iran banned women from entering most sporting events following the 1979 Islamic Revolution because mixed crowds enjoying games was deemed un-Islamic.

The Obama administration granted a wide range of marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the reported . The regulatory changes include protected medical leave and social security benefits to same-gender couples, regardless of state marriage laws.

Jeers

Human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis was shot dead by unknown assailants at her home in the Libyan city of Benghazi late on June 25, reported. Bugaighis, a lawyer, played an active part in Libya's 2011 revolution, which overthrew the regime of Moammar Gadhafi. Her husband, who was in the family home at the time of the attack, has since been reported as missing, according to a family member.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Moroccan women protested outside parliament on June 24, demanding the resignation of Islamist premier Abdelilah Benkirane after he urged women to stay at home and look after their families, reported. The leader of the moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development caused a stir last week when he compared women to "lanterns" and lamented that the "sacred status God gave" to mothers who stay at home was not respected.

USAID, with help from an external group, found $2.9 billion, almost 15 percent of the agency's annual budget, used inefficiently, the reported . A panel of corporate executives and millionaire philanthropists agreed to review the agency's finances and uncovered money that could be "realigned" over the next three years to USAID's goals for child and maternal health.

Female writers are still a rarity on the opinion-editorial pages that help drive important public discourse, a study finds, reported . Two-fifths of women who are writing columns write about subjects such as politics and economics while most write about traditionally feminine topics such as parenting and health.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene in the legal fight over a new Wisconsin law that requires any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital, reported .

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints excommunicated a prominent backer of ordination of female priests, the reported . Kate Kelly, founder of Ordain Women, was notified of the ruling on June 23, a day after a trial by judges in the Mormon Church. The group said the Mormon Church hierarchy deemed her an apostate for her contravention of Church doctrine.

In the years since the last recession began, many women in their late 40s and early 50s have left the work force just as they were reaching their peak earning years, reported . The demands on middle-aged women to care for their parents, particularly during difficult economic times that force many families to share resources, is one reason for the shift.

Female inmates in the California prison system are receiving nonconsensual sterilization, reported . The California State Auditor examined 144 cases of tubal ligations on incarcerated women over eight years and determined "some of the inmates were sterilized unlawfully."

Noted:

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law ensuring a 35-foot protective "buffer zone" outside abortion clinics, ruling that it violated the first amendment by preventing the free speech of anti-abortion protesters, reported . In a unanimous decision, the court said the zone was too sweeping, intruding onto public sidewalks where free debate and leafletting traditionally take place. Read more in the Women's eNews story, "."

Spain's Justice Ministry decided to cancel the most controversial part of its abortion reform bill – the one forbidding pregnancy terminations in the event of accredited fetal deformities, reported .

Television journalist Diane Sawyer will be stepping down as the anchor of the nightly newscast "ABC World News," reported . She will be replaced in September by journalist David Muir, who is the network's weekend anchor and works on its news magazine show "20/20."

Women who naturally conceive their last child after age 33 tend to live longer than those who have their final child by age 29, according to a study, reported .

Tomosynthesis, also known as 3-D mammography, can increase the detection rate for breast cancer, a study finds, reported .

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