Grief, Hope Seizes U.S.; Other News Roundup

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To our readers: Deepest apologies. A computer glitch prevented The Women’s eNews Web site from delivering the week’s Cheers and Jeers as scheduled. Here it is, unfortunately stripped of its graphics and links, but here nevertheless. The editors.

 

WOMENSENEWS)–Grief. Hope. Despair. Coming together.

This week emotions swept the nation after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead, 12 others wounded and "Gabby," as she is known, fighting for her life.

Grief not only for the lives lost, but for the level of political and personal violence and fear in the nation, as well as the reawakened sadness over the murders since 1963 of so many leaders who sought change on behalf of women, African Americans, the undocumented and the poor.

Hope that Gabby will live and return to Congress to represent the people of her district. Hope that perhaps changes will come to the level of violence and the ease with which these murders are accomplished; from the laws that regulate the sale of guns and ammunition to the acceptance of violence and the threats of violence in our every day experiences.

Despair as we witness the funerals, especially of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, so full of the qualities needed for leadership for change and born on a day that symbolizes for many across the globe the need for alternatives to political violence.

Coming together. Gabby opened her eyes for the first time when her three female friends from Congress visited her for the first time: Nancy Pelosi, Kirsten Gillibrand and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. President Obama mustered the emotional power that got him elected to appeal to the nation to live up to the expectations of Christina and many said they would.

–Rita Henley Jensen

 


 

News to Cheer This Week:

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  • The World Economic Forum said Jan. 12 it has introduced a quota for female executives from major sponsors at its Davos summit, requiring at least one of five delegates sent to be a woman, reported the Wall Street Journal Jan. 13.
  • A Washington County Circuit Court judge who had previously ruled that a woman could not adopt the last name of her same-sex partner has reversed himself, holding that the name change could go forward, reported an ACLU press release Jan. 13.
  • After taking office on Jan. 1 and naming nine female ministers, a record in Brazil, the country’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, announced that her main social goal is to eradicate extreme poverty, reported Inter Press Service Jan. 12.
  • Lawmakers in Mississippi–the state with the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate– have been pressed to pass a comprehensive sex education law that goes beyond just teaching about abstinence in schools, reported the Associated Press Jan. 12.
  • The Arizona State Legislature passed legislation to ban protestors from coming within 300 feet of the funeral services of the victims of the Tucson, Ariz., shootings to prevent Westboro Baptist Church’s plan to picket the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green because she was Catholic, reported Ms. Magazine Jan. 12.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged Arab nations at a town hall meeting in Oman to promote women’s empowerment if they want to succeed in the 21st century, reported the Associated Press Jan. 12.
  • Alaska Attorney General John Burns has found unconstitutional a proposed ballot initiative that was essentially seeking to outlaw abortion in Alaska, reported the Miami Herald Jan. 12.
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour suspended Jamie and Gladys Scott’s life sentences–given after a conviction of planning and participating in an armed robbery in which only $11 was stolen and no one was injured–on the condition that Gladys donates a kidney to her sister, reported Ms. Magazine Jan. 11.

 


 

News to Jeer This Week:

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  • Luis Munuzuri-Harris, an accused rapist acting as his own defense attorney, cross examined the woman he’s accused of raping for more than two hours about the night of the alleged crime, reported ABC News Jan. 12.
  • There has been "less than adequate progress" toward eliminating most health care disparities, according to a new federal report that calls for more data on the subject, reported The Hill Jan. 13. The report also failed to look at health disparities in maternal mortality rates in the country.
  • An ABC News 20/20 investigation reports that more than 1,000 young American women have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last decade while serving as Peace Corps volunteers in foreign countries.
  • Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., has introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act in the House to prevent organizations that perform abortion from receiving family planning grants, reported Ms. Magazine Jan. 13.
  • For the 1 in 4 U.S. families that are single mother families, joblessness has increased and access to welfare has decreased significantly since 2000, according to a report by Legal Momentum.
  • Susana Chavez, 36, a poet who led protests against the unsolved killings of women in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has herself become the victim of a bizarre slaying, her body found strangled and her left hand severed, reported the Associated Press Jan. 12.
  • Bills have been proposed in Florida and Nebraska that, if passed, would ban abortion coverage in insurance policies sold in state health insurance exchanges, reported Ms. Magazine Jan. 10.
  • Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian Human Rights lawyer, received an 11 year prison sentence for allegedly acting against state security, assembling and collusion with intent to disrupt national security for her work with humanitarian groups, reported Ms. Magazine Jan. 10.

Noted:

  • Nikki Haley was sworn into office Jan. 12 as governor of South Carolina, making history as both the state’s first woman and first minority governor, reported NPR.
  • An Soon Kim, a woman suspected of involvement in a human-trafficking ring operating on the East Coast, was arrested while gambling at a casino in Connecticut, reported the New York Times Jan. 10.
  • The long-term decline in the U.S. abortion rate stalled as the recession took hold, according to the Guttmacher Institute, reported the Washington Post Jan. 11.
  • Abortion numbers are rising in China where Chinese media and experts say many, if not most, of the abortion seekers are young, single women, reported the Washington Post Jan. 9.
  • Pope Benedict said sex and civic education in schools in Europe that discusses homosexuality, divorce and abortion is an "attack" on religious freedom, reported Agence France-Presse Jan. 10.

In Memoriam:

In the wake of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting, the country mourns the loss of the six that lost their lives. The youngest, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, was an elementary school politician and budding feminist who dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player.

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