High Court Stands Pat; Iraqi Women Suffer Still

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal from Norma McCorvey, the anonymous Roe in the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. The High Court rejected McCorvey’s appeal for reconsideration of Roe v. Wade without comment or recorded dissent, reports Reuters.

During the past three decades, McCorvey has become an outspoken opponent of abortion. In 2003, a federal judge rejected her request to reconsider the 1973 ruling because she failed to file it on a timely basis. At that time, the judge had said that 30 years after Roe v. Wade was “simply too late” to revisit that judgment.

In appealing to the Supreme Court, McCorvey’s lawyers argued that the original ruling should be set aside because the decision was “no longer just,” reports Reuters. McCorvey’s appeal is based on anecdotal evidence that abortion harms women.

At least three justices, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, have said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned. The McCorvey appeal comes during a time of intense speculation over whether Rehnquist will retire this term. Many groups worry that a nominee that opposes all abortions will be chosen to replace him.

Another reason to Cheer this week:

— Women having chest pain are finally being prescribed the right medications, researchers say. WebMD Medical News reports that Shu-fen Wung, a nursing professor from the University of Arizona in Tucson, told an American Heart Association conference on women’s heart health that past studies have shown that men received better treatment for heart disease symptoms than women did. But Wung’s recent study showed that women with heart disease symptoms were prescribed the appropriate medications and treatment–just as frequently as men were.

For more information:

Amnesty International–
“Iraq: Decades of suffering, Now women deserve better”:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/countries/iraq/document.do?id=9E865CC4FD535B2880256F73005E4047

American Journal of Public Health–
“Homicide: A Leading Cause of Injury Deaths Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women in the United States, 1991–1999”:
http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/95/3/471


Jeers

Iraqi women are no better off now than they were under the rule of former dictator Saddam Hussein, according to a report released on Tuesday by Amnesty International. The report, “Iraq: Decades of Suffering, Now Women Deserve Better,” said that, while the systematic repression under Hussein had ended, there has been an increase in murder and sexual abuse, including some abuse by U.S. forces.

“Women and girls in Iraq live in fear of violence as the conflict intensifies and insecurity spirals,” the report says. “Tens of thousands of civilians are reported to have been killed or injured in military operations or attacks by armed groups since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.” The report also says that the lawlessness and crime that followed the overthrow of Hussein’s government, discriminatory laws and practices against women and a conservative social and political backlash all contribute to stifle women’s freedom.

Amnesty International told the press that several women detained by U.S. troops had spoken in interviews of mistreatment. The report also says “women have been subjected to sexual threats by members of the U.S.-led forces and some women detained by U.S. forces have been sexually abused, possibly raped.”

The report is part of Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women campaign. The report concludes that Iraqi women must have an active role in shaping the future of their country and that Iraqi authorities must take effective measures to protect women and to change discriminatory legislation that encourages violence against them.

Other reasons to Jeer:

— The Kansas attorney general is demanding abortion clinics turn over the complete medical records of nearly 90 women and girls in the state. Attorney General Phill Kline, an abortion opponent, told the press Thursday: “I have the duty to investigate and prosecute child rape and other crimes in order to protect Kansas children.” Kline is claiming that he needs the material for an investigation into underage sex and illegal late-term abortions. Two clinics are fighting the request in Kansas Supreme Court, saying the state has no right to such personal information.

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