Silver Ring Tossed; Niger Famine Hits Women Hardest

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers:

Federal funding for the Pittsburgh-based abstinence-only educational ministry, the Silver Ring Thing, has been withdrawn by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday. The ministry has been found to be improperly using government funding to promote religious activities.

“As we have said all along, it is improper for the federal government to underwrite efforts to convert teenagers to a particular faith,” said Julie Steinberg, attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project in the release.

Other News to Cheer this Week:

  • As of Friday, women have had the right to vote for 85 years. The anniversary of the 19th Amendment is celebrated on Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day. The Library of Congress has decorated its halls with images of the suffrage movement and the women who led it, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
  • Eric Rudolph, bomber of an abortion clinic, a gay and lesbian nightclub, and the Olympic Park was sentenced to four life sentences, news wires reported Wednesday. A group of victims and family members read statements and heard Rudolph’s apology for the Olympics bombing. Rudolph made no mention of the other attacks.
  • Eastman Kodak and its Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender employee organization invited a transgender consultant to speak to the company’s human resource employees, reported the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle newspaper on Wednesday. Donna Rose, a former business consultant who recently transitioned from male-to-female, spoke about her experiences to members of the company. Kodak has already established handbook guidelines for individuals who oversee transgender employees.
  • Harriet Anyangokolo, spokesperson for a group of Ugandan detainees, was released from the Yarl’s Wood removal center in England on the 33rd day of her hunger strike, according to a Wednesday press release from Legal Action for Women. Anyangokolo went on hunger strike to press for asylum, claiming she feared rape and abuse by the Ugandan government and insurgent groups. Her request for asylum will now be reconsidered, along with that of eight others who are still being held at Yarl’s Wood.
  • The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that three lesbians have parental rights and responsibilities equal to those of biological mothers, The Sacramento Bee reported. The decision makes California the first state to recognize full legal parentage for nonbiological parents, a family law expert said.


Jeers:

Pregnant women in Niger are taking the brunt of the nation’s food crisis, according to a press release from the United Nations Population Fund on Wednesday. Poor nutrition in pregnant and lactating women increases the risk of maternal and childhood death rates. Maternal mortality is already at a 1-in-7 lifetime risk in the impoverished nation.

The fund has begun an emergency intervention in the nation’s capital, Niamey, to work with other regional and national experts and advisers. The organization is seeking $400,000 immediately to prevent the deaths of pregnant and lactating women and their children.

Other News to Jeer this Week:

  • A study found that only 5 percent of newspapers’ sports sections focus on female athletes and 3 percent on female teams, according to a press release from the one of the study’s researchers, the Project for Excellence in Journalism on Monday. The study suggests that the low numbers may be tied to women accounting for less than 6 percent of the sports editors at The Associated Press.
  • Ovarian cancer is not being detected as early as it could be, according to a press release from Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society, on Monday. After women describe the cancer’s symptoms to their doctors they are often not diagnosed until more than four months later, a critical delay for a disease that requires early detection for the most effective treatment.
  • Women who have had a Caesarian section in the past are now being required by many hospitals to have the same procedure for all subsequent births as well, according to USA Today on Wednesday. “We think the risk is more of a legal risk than a medical risk,” said the CEO of California’s Oroville Hospital, Robert Wentz, referring to why so many repeat C-sections are being required. A tear in the scar left by a C-section is the primary risk of a vaginal birth after Caesarean, yet this has been shown to occur less than 1 percent of the time.
  • The Central Ohio Women’s Center has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Columbus against the Ohio Department of Health, saying the state’s demand for medical records is a violation of constitutional privacy policy, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. The state will not say why all 242 of the center’s records from May and June are being sought.
  • A Pentagon committee issued a report Thursday showing that women at the U.S. Military Academy and the Naval Academy continue to suffer from hostile attitudes and inappropriate treatment, according to The Associated Press. The panel urged the academies to improve sexual harassment training of prospective officers.

–Allison Stevens contributed to this report.

Rachel Corbett is a Women’s eNews intern and freelance writer based in New York City. Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief for Women’s eNews.


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