Cheers and Jeers

Obama Marks Roe v. Wade; Alabama Prison Deemed Toxic

Saturday, January 25, 2014

President Barack Obama marked the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision this week. In Alabama, a women's prison was found to be a "toxic" house of horrors in which "repeated and open sexual behavior" is the norm.

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Barack Obama
 

Credit: White House photo by Pete Souza

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

President Barack Obama marked the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision--the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing abortion as part of a woman's right to privacy--with a statement calling on the nation to "recommit" to the principle "that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health," reported . "We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman's access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom," Obama said.

More News to Cheer This Week:

The Moroccan Parliament voted unanimously to amend a law that allows a man convicted of statutory rape to escape punishment if he marries his under-age victim, the reported . Without the marriage, the law, known as Article 475, mandates only a few years of prison and a small fine. With the vote, the terms of punishment remain, but the exoneration clause has been deleted.

Two Twitter trolls who abused a high-profile feminist who campaigned for women to be used on banknotes in the United Kingdom have been jailed, reported . Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, both told campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez they wanted her to die in a series of vile messages. Sorley was given 12 weeks behind bars while co-defendant Nimmo was given eight weeks in prison.

President Obama launched an initiative that includes the creation of a task force to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, the reported . A new White House report found that 1-in-5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault.

French lawmakers approved a controversial abortion bill that scraps a requirement for women to prove they are in distress to legally terminate a pregnancy, reported . The measure is a part of a broader legislative package on gender equality. Read more in the Women's eNews story "."

A federal appeals court reinstated a portion of a 2011 New York City law that regulates crisis pregnancy centers, known as CPCs, the reported . The CPCs operating in New York City must now disclose whether or not a licensed medical professional works on-site at the facility. The disclosure must be posted in English and Spanish at their entrances and in their waiting rooms.

Jeers

An Alabama women's prison is a "toxic" house of horrors in which "repeated and open sexual behavior" is the norm, federal investigators said, the reported . A Department of Justice investigation found that for two decades prisoners at Tutwiler Prison for Women have been subjected to all manner of humiliation.

The lengthy list of indignities includes officers forcing women into sexual acts in exchange for basic sanitary supplies, male guards openly watching women shower and use the bathroom, a staff-organized strip show and a constant barrage of sexually offensive language, according to investigators.

At least a third of the 99 employees at the prison with a population of nearly 900 have had sex with prisoners, according to the department.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Fifty-five percent of female soldiers in the German military say they have encountered some kind of sexual abuse at least once while in the armed forces, an internal study found, reported . The report prompted Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to call for new measures to address problems faced by women in uniform.

Former Republican Arkansas governor and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee asserted Jan. 22 that Democrats are telling women "they cannot control their libido" by offering no-copay contraception through the Affordable Care Act, reported. Huckabee also likened Obamacare's expanded contraception coverage to a sugar daddy.

Tens of thousands of abortion opponents braved temperatures to dance, sing, pray and march up Capitol Hill for the 41st annual March for Life, reported .The 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade was also marked by a tweet sent out by Pope Francis supporting the anti-abortion marchers, the reported. "I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable," he tweeted.

An extensive by Human Rights Watch found that the Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai had made a series of decisions in 2013 that undermined human rights, particularly those of women and girls, reported .

A faction of conservatives planned on introducing a resolution at this week's meeting of the Republican National Committee urging GOP candidates to speak up about abortion and respond forcefully against Democratic efforts to paint them as anti-woman extremists, reported .

Women represented only 15 percent of the attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year, reported . Last year, 17 percent of participants at the invitation-only event were women.

Three out of four educated women in Iran are unemployed and have become housewives, the latest employment figures have revealed, according to a published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran on Jan. 20.

South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass., is conducting an internal review after two women died from complications during childbirth in one month, the reported . Hospital spokesperson Sarah Darcy said the two deaths, on Jan. 15 and Dec. 14 last year, appear to be unpredictable and unpreventable.

Noted:

A global coalition of women's groups demonstrated outside of the U.N. Syria peace talks on Jan. 22. to call for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and for women to have better representation at the peace talks, CODEPINK announced in a Jan. 21. The coalition, known as Women Lead to Peace, called for a ceasefire in Syria, more humanitarian aid and the active participation of Syrian women in the peace talks.

The started a review of emergency contraceptives to see if they work less well in heavier women, the reported . In November, French drug maker HRA Pharma announced its morning-after pill Norlevo was less effective in women weighing more than 75 kilograms (165 pounds) and that it didn't work for women weighing more than 80 kilograms (176 pounds).

The largest liberal "super PAC" in the country has begun raising money to elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as president, the reported . Clinton has not announced yet if she will be running or not for the presidential election in 2016.

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