Nursing Moms Get Tax Cut; Afghan Shelters Limited

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

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Nursing mothers will receive a tax break on pumps and other breastfeeding supplies, the Internal Revenue Service announced Feb. 10. Argued for by pediatricians and breastfeeding advocates, the Internal Revenue Service ruling will allow mothers to use pretax money from their flexible health spending accounts to cover the cost of breast pumps and other supplies, reported Reuters. Mothers without flexible spending accounts may deduct breastfeeding costs if their total unreimbursed medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income and they itemize.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Eve Ensler, writer of "The Vagina Monologues," opened a compound in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo, called the City of Joy, to educate small groups of Congolese women to become leaders in their communities to fight sexual violence, reported the New York Times Feb 6.
  • Physicians from Reproductive Choice and Health shared patient stories on Feb. 8 at a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution hearing on bill H.R. 3, which proposes restrictions in insurance coverage of abortion. Catholics for Choice also spoke out against attempts by House Republicans to pass the abortion law changes, according to a press release Feb. 8.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a portable medical ultrasound unit for smartphones from the Washington, D.C-based health startup Mobisante, reported Time Feb. 10.
  • Filmmaker LeAnn Erickson’s documentary "Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II" looks at women who were recruited by the U.S. military during World War II to calculate weapon trajectory for soldiers, such as a computer would do, reported CNN Feb. 8.
  • Ingmar Guandique, convicted of killing former federal intern, Chandra Levy, will be sentenced Feb. 11, reported the Washington Post.
  • A jury has found a Buffalo, N.Y., television producer, Muzzammil "Mo" Hassan–who ran a cable studio designed to promote understanding of his Muslim culture–guilty of beheading his wife in 2009, reported The New York Post Feb. 8.

 


 

Jeers

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Women’s advocates say that new rules being drafted by the Afghan government will deter most vulnerable women and girls from seeking refuge and are placing women’s shelters under siege, The New York Times reported Feb. 10. The new rules require women who leave their communities to explain their reasons to an eight-member government panel, which would then determine whether the woman needs to be in a shelter or should be sent to jail or back home. The change speaks to the suspicions that women’s shelters still generate in this society, the article reported, where the shelters have come to symbolize the competition between modern values and traditional Afghan ways. Many believe their very existence encourages girls to run away or are fronts for brothels.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Ninety-seven percent of young women in a survey, done exclusively by Glamour, admitted to having at least one "I hate my body" moment a day, reported the magazine Feb. 11.
  • Female teens in Nigeria who are pushed into marriage too young are becoming ill from vesicovaginal fistula, an abnormal fistulous tract that causes continuous, involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault, reported the Daily Champion Feb. 11.
  • The Continuing Resolution bill includes a $327 million cut to family planning funds, reported Ms. Magazine Feb. 10.
  • An open display in Baghdad, Iraq, features four mannequins in Western dresses and a sign reading, "whoever fills his eyes with the forbidden, on judgment day God will fill them with fire," reported the New York Times Feb 8.
  • House Speaker John Boehner plans to reintroduce the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, which will prevent U.S. overseas assistance to organizations that provide information on abortions, direct women to abortion providers or perform abortions, reported the Guardian Feb. 9.
  • Pharmacists gave a six-week pregnant Colorado woman, Mareena Silva, a powerful abortion drug that can cause miscarriages and birth defects instead of the antibiotic her doctor had prescribed, ABC News reported Feb. 8.
  • A study in the National Academy of Sciences suggests that female scientists may be punished in their careers for making certain choices in their personal lives, The Guardian reported Feb. 8.
  • – A consultant radiologist, Dr. Glenn Kelly, missed breast cancer in 61 British women, reported the BBC Feb. 9, giving them a false all-clear.
  • In the "2010 Femicide Report," Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women found that out of the 21 adults killed due to familial and domestic violence, 15 were women killed by a current or former intimate partner.
  • The earthquake in Haiti last year has devastated a strong and surprisingly successful women’s movement, which struggles like the rest of the nation to recover, even as women are being subjected to a high rate of sexual violence, reported the Los Angeles Times Feb. 4.
  • U.S. Latina women have fewer live births and smaller babies than white women, according to research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, reported Fox News Feb 11.

Noted:

  • A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicates that many women with early breast cancer do not need a painful procedure that has long been routine: removal of cancerous lymph nodes from the armpit, the Washington Times reported Feb. 8.
  • A Chicago medical center has become one of the nation’s first Roman Catholic hospitals to adopt a practice of halting second-trimester abortions for women who change their minds after the multi-day medical procedure has started, The Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 9.
  • Conservative Jordanian tribal figures have issued a petition urging King Abdullah to end Queen Rania’s role in politics. This latest challenge to his spouse, who is Palestinian, comes as the monarch is grappling with fallout from the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Reuters reported Feb. 8.
  • A cardiac resynchronization therapy with a defibrillator to prevent heart failure is twice as effective in women as in men, a study from the University of Rochester Medical Center finds, reported Businessweek Feb. 7.
  • Authorities in Saudi Arabia were angry when several women protested outside the Interior Ministry, a government office, without permission and without male guardians, in violation of Islamic tradition, reported United Press International Feb. 6.
  • If women are given control of the amount of epidural anesthesia they get during labor and delivery, they use about 30 percent less medication than when given a standard dose from a doctor, a study by Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California shows, U.S. News reported Feb. 10.
  • Saudi Arabia is regularly criticized for its unofficial ban on female drivers, but when it comes to women driving in rural areas the authorities have an informal "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, The Jerusalem Post reported Feb. 10.
  • The 164-year-old Century Association in New York City, the country’s pre-eminent club of arts and letters, is locked in an internal battle over the rights and privileges of its female members in its London partner, reported the New York Times Feb. 9.

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