Military Gay Ban Over; Nevadan Tries to Ban Abortion

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

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After years of debate and months of preparation, the military can no longer prevent gay men and women from serving openly in its ranks. The repeal of the 1993 law known as "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell" took effect Sept. 20, Bloomberg reported. Troops who identify themselves as gay or lesbian will no longer face automatic discharge.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • In Zimbabwe, gender advocates are vigorously campaigning for the new constitution to reserve quotas for women in government and all public institutions, reported the Zimbabwe Independent Sept. 23.
  • In Canada, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda has decided to approve a proposal by the International Planned Parenthood Federation to provide sex education and contraception in five developing countries, reported CBS News Canada Sept. 22. In the U.S.,Planned Parenthood is kicking off its annual National Sex Ed Week of Action from Sept. 23-30 to highlight the importance of comprehensive sex education programs.
  • Grassroot Soccer announced Sept. 21 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City the expansion of a program called "Skillz Street" to provide girls in South Africa with the opportunity to play in a newly formed girls-only soccer league.
  • Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, two American hikers convicted of spying in Iran, were released from Tehran’s Evin Prison after judges agreed to accept bail of $1 million, The Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 21.
  • Turkish association plans to allocate free tickets to women and children under 16 for all league matches this season, the sport news website SI.com reported Sept. 21. The move is meant to both encourage their attendance at football games and reduce violence engender by male-dominant games.
  • A new global effort to end child marriage, Girls Not Brides, was announced Sept. 20 at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
  • Brooklyn bikers created their own patrol to fight back against the spate of sex attacks that have rocked Park Slope, the New York Daily News reported Sept. 20. The bike-patrol offers to escort women home from the subway if they don’t want to walk alone after dark.
  • Architect Jeanne Gang received a "Genius Grant" offered by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 20. Gang is the brains behind an 82-story condominium tower called Aqua, in Chicago, said to be the tallest building designed by a woman.
  • Prominent female politicians, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, urged letting women play a greater global political role, the AFP reported Sept. 19. Also, Clinton urged female world leaders to reach out to the new emerging democracies in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Jewish Women International’s Clergy Task Force has created a prayer that calls attention to families touched by domestic violence, according to a press release published Sept. 19.

Jeers

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The Nevada Prolife Coalition filed a petition with the secretary of state earlier this week to outlaw abortion in the state, reported The Las Vegas Sun Sept. 23. The petition would prohibit "the intentional taking of a prenatal person’s life" and defines a prenatal person as "every human being at all stages of biological development before birth," effectively prohibiting abortion.

The petition is similar to a failed 2010 petition in Nevada, pushed by the Personhood USA group. That petition was rejected by Carson District Court Judge James Russell, who found the language too vague to be clear to voters.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Republican-led Michigan legislature took key votes toward approving a state-level ban on a procedure opponents call "partial-birth" abortion on Sept. 21, reported The Houston Chronicle on Sept. 21. The proposal for the ban passed the Senate by a 29-8 vote.
  • This November, Mississippians will vote on a ballot measure that would redefine the word "person" in the state constitution to include undeveloped embryos, reported The Huffington Post Sept. 23. If passed, this bill would criminalize abortion in Mississippi, with no exceptions for rape, incest or life of the mother.
  • The Colombian authorities have failed to tackle the lack of justice for women and girl survivors during the country’s long-running armed conflict, Amnesty International said in a report Sept. 21.
  • "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President," a book written by journalist Ron Suskind, portrays the Obama White House as a difficult place for women to work in and to feel comfortable, the Washington Post reported Sept. 20.
  • Only 48 percent of Texans have private health insurance and more than a quarter of the state’s population has no insurance at all, more than any other state. To fill this gap, the state’s hospital emergency rooms and dozens of women’s health clinics have stepped in to serve the uninsured across Texas, NPR reported Sept. 20.
  • Women represent 40 percent of the world labor force but hold just 1 percent of the world’s wealth, the World Bank said in a report released Sept. 19. The World Bank said gender equality is important in its own right as well as being "smart economics,, the AFP reported Sept. 19.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to launch a pornography website, featuring nude women, in the name of animal rights, Reuters reported Sept. 19.
  • Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was caught boasting about having sex with eight women in one night, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Sept. 19.
  • In 2010, female business owners received less than the allocated 5 percent of federal contracts, according to Give Me 5: Education and Access for Women in Federal Contracts. However, Give Me 5 has been offering a program to ensure female-owned small businesses get their share of government contracts. Submission deadline is on Sept. 30

Noted:

  • Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually abused women but they are "too afraid" to speak out, Tristane Banon, the French writer who accuses him of attempted rape, said in an interview given to the French newspaper Le Parisien Sept. 20.
  • Interviewed on French television Sept. 18, Dominique Strauss-Kahn called his encounter with the New York hotel maid a moral failing he deeply regrets, but insisted that no violence was involved, Time reported Sept. 19
  • On the prime-time television series "Grey’s Anatomy," the character Cristina Yang had an abortion during the episode broadcast Sept. 22, reported New York Magazine Sept. 23. By broadcasting the procedure, the show did what almost no other series will: show this one particular medical procedure on TV.
  • A French court fined two Muslim women on Sept. 22 for wearing full-face veils in public, reported Reuters Sept. 22. This was the first time a judge has imposed punishment under France’s "burka ban" law, which took effect in April.
  • Barbara Sheehan, a secretary from Queens, N.Y, told a jury that she killed her husband, a retired police lieutenant, after years of being abused and threatened, the New York Times reported Sept. 19.
  • Interviewed on CNN Sept.19, Michele Bachmann downplayed the significance of her recent remarks regarding the HPV vaccine. However the Republican presidential candidate didn’t necessarily backtrack from her erroneous statements.
  • Woman should rather wear a skirt rather than a trouser suit for a first better impression and more success in the workplace, The Mail Online reported Sept. 19, quoting a study of the U.K.’s University of Hertfordshire.
  • Dozens of women and children wearing colorful miniskirts and tight leggings gathered in central Jakarta Sept. 18 to protest remarks by the Jakarta city governor who blamed a recent gang rape on the victim’s choice of clothing, Reuters reported Sept. 18.

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