February 4, 2012

Komen Reverses Course; Virginia OKs Abortion Bill

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

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Public outcry this week over Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation's decision to cut off grants for Planned Parenthood, which funded breast cancer screenings and education, successfully pressured Komen into changing its position. The foundation said that Planned Parenthood would now be eligible to apply for grants.

On Feb. 3, Komen released a press statement saying that they will amend the grant requirements for recipients and "continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood," reported Reuters Feb. 3. Any "disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political," the press release said, which would mean that the current investigation of Planned Parenthood would no longer disqualify it from receiving Komen grants.

Komen apologized "to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives," reported The Washington Post Feb. 3.

Planned Parenthood has raised close to $3 million since Tuesday, reported the National Journal Feb. 3, which is at least six times the amount of the grant Planned Parenthood received from Komen last year.

Read about the uproar in WeNews' "Controversy Engulfs Susan G. Komen for the Cure."

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Pakistan's Senate passed a women's rights protection bill, which had already passed in the country's National Assembly, Islamabad's The Nation reported Feb. 3. The bill creates a National Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Women's rights activists marched to the Serail, the Lebanese prime minister's headquarters in Beirut, with a list of demands for him, reported Lebanon's The Daily Star Feb. 3. The march occurred after the close of the New Arab Women Forum, which this year focused on women's roles in the Arab Spring.
  • Feb. 1 was National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which marks the anniversary of Title IX, reported Forbes. While Title IX never specifically mentions sports, it is often used to ensure that schools provide equal opportunities for women in athletics. Since its passage in the early 1970s, there are over 11 times as many female athletes in high school sports programs.
  • Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood announced that it would not impose a veil requirement on Egyptian women, Bikya Masr reported Feb. 1. The Islamist party added that it would adhere to upholding personal freedoms for all citizens.
  • Jan. 29 marked the three-year anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which established that the 180-day statute of limitations on filing pay discrimination lawsuits begins anew with each discriminatory paycheck.
  • Big pay raises for more than 150,000 community sector workers will help narrow the large salary gap in Australia after a historic decision by the workplace tribunal, reported the Sydney Morning Herald Feb. 1. Fair Work Australia, an independent body charged with making decisions on wage and employment conditions, decided that those working in the sector were paid less because the field was dominated by women. The workers will receive pay increases of anywhere between 19 to 41 percent, which will be phased in over the next eight years.
  • U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced the publication of a new Equal Access to Housing Rules that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to HUD's blog Jan. 30.
  • The Obama administration defended its decision to require most religiously-affiliated employers to cover the cost of birth control in their health insurance plans, CBS News reported Jan. 31. President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius believe the policy "strikes the appropriate balance" between protecting religious freedoms and providing women with access to preventive health services, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
  • Girl Scouts USA launched a campaign to cultivate the female leaders of tomorrow in order to create equal representation of women and men in all leadership sectors of society within a generation, The Washington Post reported Jan. 31. The Girl Scouts took the initiative after a study showed girls are afraid to take leadership.
  • Taiwanese health authorities said that tougher checks on illegal gender-selective abortions prevented nearly 1,000 terminations of female fetuses last year, Asia One News reported Jan. 31. Government figures showed that 108 male babies were born for every 100 female babies in 2011, down from 109 to 100 in 2010. The normal sex ratio at birth globally is 104-106 males to every 100 females.
  • The United Arab Emirates will host the first Arab Women's Sports Tournament at the Sharjah Ladies Club from Feb. 2-12, Bikya Masr reported Jan. 30. Clubs from 12 countries will compete in an array of events including basketball, volleyball, shooting and table tennis.
  • Saudi women will be allowed to attend sport games in a new stadium due to be completed in Jeddah in 2014, The Digital Journal reported Jan. 30. The new venue "will include a family section with private cabins and balconies for women who wish to attend the games."

Jeers

thumb pointing downThe Republican-led Virginia Senate passed a bill by a vote of 21-18 that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, The Washington Post reported Feb. 1. The Senate, which for years had killed similar measures, voted largely along party lines.

The state House of Delegates, with a large GOP majority, is expected to pass the bill and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said he would sign it, making the new anti-choice law all but inevitable in Virginia.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would add a sweeping expansion to the birth-control refusal clause under the new Affordable Care Act, according to a Jan. 31 press release. An expansion of the refusal clause could directly impact nearly 1 million people (and their dependents) who work at Catholic hospitals, as well as approximately 2 million students and workers at religiously-affiliated universities.
  • An Indian girl child aged 1-5 years is 75 percent more likely to die than an Indian boy, making this the worst gender differential in child mortality for any country in the world, reported the Times of India Feb. 2.
  • Donations from individuals to super PACs are largely from men, according to Salon Feb. 2. Salon found that 86 percent of individual donors to the Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, were men, and 92 percent of individual donors to the Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, were men.
  • California's women continue to struggle and suffer from the recession, according to a new report, The Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 1. While the employment rate among men has improved, fewer women are working. In addition, cuts to state welfare programs have disproportionately affected women, making it harder for them to work and care for their children.
  • Sexual crimes such as rape, assault and incest are up 19 percent in Chile, reported The Santiago Times Jan. 30. Rape alone saw a 15 percent spike, according to a report produced by the nongovernmental organization Activa.
  • A report released by the Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates shows that women, particularly women of color, in Florida are facing mounting health problems related to unintended pregnancies and HIV, The Florida Independent reported Jan. 31. The report also found that "1.9 million are in need of contraceptive services and supplies."
  •  An Afghan woman has been strangled to death, apparently by her husband, who was upset that she gave birth to a second daughter rather than the son he wanted, Associated Press reported Jan. 30.
  • A new test that will soon allow parents to determine the sex of a fetus in the first few weeks of pregnancy may lead to an increase in aborted female fetuses in countries with a culture of favoring sons, Women's View on News reported Jan. 30. Currently, most parents can only determine the sex of a baby through an ultrasound conducted between the 14th to 16th week of pregnancy.

Noted:

  • A South African court has sentenced four men to 18 years for a murder that activists say was carried out because the victim was a lesbian, reported the Associated Press Feb. 1. Zoliswa Nkonyana was stabbed and stoned to death in 2006.
  • Pfizer Inc. announced that it has voluntarily recalled 14 lots of Lo/Ovral®-28 tablets and 14 lots of a generic version of the tablets for customers in the U.S. market, announced the Food and Drug Administration Jan. 31. An investigation by Pfizer found that some blister packs may contain an inexact count of inert or active ingredient tablets and that the tablets may be out of sequence, which could lead to unintended pregnancy.
  • Women abandoned Newt Gingrich in droves and helped fuel former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's triumph in Florida's Republican presidential primary, according to data from an exit poll of voters, Associated Press reported Jan. 31. Romney prevailed over Gingrich among women across every category of education and income.
  • San Jose, Calif., is the best paying city for women in the United States according to a ranking published by Forbes on Jan. 31. Women in this West Coast city earn an average of $67,052 annually for full-time work. That's more than twice as much as the worst-paying city for women --McAllen, Texas --where women earn a mean of just $31,287 each year.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor and the National Equal Pay Task Force announced a contest for creating software applications that use the department's data to promote equal pay for men and women.
  • Women's rights campaigners are demanding the removal of urinals shaped like female mouths from the men's lavatory of a Rolling Stones museum in Germany, The Der Spiegel reported Jan. 30. The owner denies the bowls are offensive and vows: "They're staying."
  • Three members of an Afghan immigrant family have been jailed for life in Canada for the "honor killing" of three teenage girls and their stepmother, The Telegraph reported Jan. 30. Mohammad Shafia, the girls' father and husband of the fourth victim, was sentenced to life in prison along with his second wife and their 21-year-old son.
  • The Voice of Midlife and Older Women (OWL) addressed a letter urging congressional leaders to add menopause education to their 2012 health care policy work plans, the group said in a Jan. 30 press statement. OWL said surveys show women of all ages need more information about menopause and that younger women, in particular, often lack even basic information about this major life stage.

In Memoriam:

  • Camilla Williams, the first black woman to appear in a leading role with a major U.S. opera company, died in Indiana at age 92, BBC News reported Jan. 31. Williams had been suffering from cancer, according to Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She was also a strong advocate for civil rights.

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3 thoughts on “Komen Reverses Course; Virginia OKs Abortion Bill

  1. Regardless of the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s backtracking on the issue of the grants to Planned Parenthood I do not think they merit a “Cheer” when they are apparently pursuing what I would call an anti woman agenda. I say this because they have withdrawn funding for stem cell research and have several people in either top management or their board who are anti-abortion.

    Please take a look at this article I found and see if you don’t agree . . .

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/03/1061552/-Komen-Antiabortion-Agenda-is-Broad-and-Deep

  2. Despite the drama over Komen’s decision to sever funding to Planned Parenthood, I think we have to focus on the one very large positive from this public debacle: the intense opposition from women all over the country. I’ve been reading Susan Faludi’s “Backlash,” about the undeclared war against women in the US, and this gives me great hope that women can successfully fight the backlash. In our society right now, women’s rights are being pushed back. Rappers rap about “bitches” and “whores,” there is new controversy over Roe v. Wade, and the number of women being elected into office has stagnated. But perhaps Komen’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood funding is the beginning of the end of this backlash. The huge opposition to the funding severance not only united women against a common cause; it brought them to act. Social media exploded with criticism of the highly political move, and people were talking about it everywhere – on the news, with their friends, on the internet. It was truly remarkable for me to see, especially in an era where I’ve felt that many women have stopped fighting for their rights. I sincerely hope that this event marks a change in women’s fight for equality, and that the women who opposed this decision and pushed Komen to reverse it stay involved and educated. This very public debate put women’s rights in the limelight. These issues are important, and maybe this battle was just what women needed: a strong victory against those who have put women’s rights on the backburner. I have hope that this event will lead to more like it. Women need to re-embrace their power to effect change. We’ve got about a thousand more battles to fight, but this victory may be the one to get us back on our feet and fighting.