March 17, 2012

Fewer Pap Tests, GOP Slaps Anti-Violence Act

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In a dramatic break from standard practice, new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force called for the end of the annual Pap test. Instead, the task force recommended that women who are 21 to 29 years old have the test for cervical cancer once every three years, reported ABC News March 15. Females under the age of 21 do not need the test at all, regardless of sexual history and healthy women between the ages of 30 and 65 need a test only every five years if they combine it with a test for human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can develop into cervical cancer. The guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are in sync with those of the American Cancer Society and the American Society of Clinical Pathology.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Argentina’s Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that will decriminalize abortions in cases of rape, reported CNN March 14. Before the ruling, contradictory interpretations of the law sometimes said that only women who were "mentally challenged or demented" could have an abortion.
  • Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby announced a joint initiative to provide $4.65 million in small grants to grassroots organizations to address gender-based violence around the world, according to a press release March 14.
  • Moroccan activists have stepped up pressure to scrap laws that allow rapists to marry their victims — after a 16-year-old rape victim committed suicide, reported the BBC March 15.
  • In an op-ed posted by, Sandra Fluke again pushed back against radio personality Rush Limbaugh, stating that the conservative radio host’s "attempts to silence women" have clearly failed.
  • Hillary Clinton criticized "extremists" who battle women’s rights in the United States and beyond in a speech at the Women of the World Summit in New York City, The Blaze reported March 12.
  • Hundreds of people marched around the Georgia Capitol protesting two pieces of legislation that threaten women’s health, reported the AP March 12.
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski is about to make history by becoming the longest-serving woman in Congress, Roll Call reported March 12.
  • A public service campaign hopes to cause a sensation by launching a "Sluts Unite" website and social media drive to promote "healthy nookie" while mocking Rush Limbaugh’s infamous "slut" insult of law student Sandra Fluke, The Huffington Post reported March 12.
  • Chinese police rescued more than 24,000 abducted women and children in 2011, according to a report by the Public Security Ministry, BBC News reported March 11.


The Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation, now faces fierce opposition from conservatives, reported the New York Times March 15. A fight has emerged primarily over changes to the bill that would, for instance, cover same-sex couples in domestic violence programs, expand services to other underserved groups such as American Indians and rural populations, and allow undocumented immigrants experiencing domestic abuse to obtain temporary visas. Some Republicans have accused Democrats of including provisions they knew conservatives wouldn’t support to damage the conservative party’s image, while Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women."

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The federal government on Thursday began making good on its promise to cut off all funding for the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program amid an escalating fight over the state’s ban on funding for clinics affiliated with abortion providers, reported the Washington Post March 15.
  • One of Britain’s main abortion providers said that a campaign run by a U.S.-based religious group is intimidating women who use its services, reported the Washington Post March 14.
  • Concerns for the safety of some female veterans who rely on homeless shelters have emerged after inspections showed women housed in shelters approved only for men, The New York Daily News reported March 13.
  • Male scientists still receive an outsized number of research awards compared to women, a study finds, USA Today reported March 13.
  • At least 45 women and children have been stabbed and burned to death in the Syrian city of Homs, opposition activists said, CNN reported March 12. The massacre took place after peace talks between a U.N. special envoy and the Syrian regime failed to result in a cease-fire.
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in a recent interview that he would end all government support for Planned Parenthood, the AP reported March 14. "Is the program so critical that it is worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?… And on that basis, of course you get rid of ObamaCare, that’s the easy one. But there are others: Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that."
  • An Egyptian military court on Sunday acquitted an army doctor accused of conducting forced "virginity tests" on female protesters last year, in a case that had sparked a national outcry, AFP reported March 11.
  • Eighty three percent of women who are raped or sexually assaulted do not report the crime to police in England, a survey suggests, The Daily Mail reported March 12.
  • Several U.S. newspapers are refusing to run a Doonesbury strip by cartoonist Garry Trudeau lampooning a Texas law on abortion, The Guardian reported March 11. Trudeau said her felt compelled to respond to the way Republicans across America are undermining women’s health care rights.
  • Baton Rouge, La., is the worst-paying city for women in the United States, according to a study based on the Census Bureau’s compensation data, MSNBC reported March 13.
  • Six major Islamic organizations have voiced objections to the gender fairness and equality bill being considered in Indonesia, saying that some articles may harm Islamic values, reported The Jakarta Post March 15.


  • In the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, Santorum led Romney among women by significant margins, reported the Washington Post March 14. In Alabama, Santorum won 38 percent of the female vote, and Romney won 30 percent. In Mississippi, Santorum won 35 percent of the female vote compared to Romney’s 32 percent.
  • A new women’s PAC working to defeat elected officials who supported "personhood" legislation or ultrasound laws in Virginia has raised $100,000 in its first two weeks, according to a press release March 14.
  • Ohio state senator Nina Turner is the third female lawmaker to introduce a bill limiting men’s access to Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs, Yahoo News reported March 12.
  • Jacques Rogge, president of the Olympic International Committee, said he is optimistic that Saudi Arabia will send female athletes to the Olympics for the first time at this summer’s London Games, The San Francisco Chronicle reported March 12.
  • A group that supports health care coverage of contraception is calling for women to withhold sex from their partners between April 28 and May 5, The Huffington Post reported March 13.
  • Alabama’s congressional primaries on March 13 marked no surprises but did confirm that two women, Republican Martha Roby and Democrat Therese Ford, will compete in November for the state’s 2nd District. Roby is a first-term incumbent who won in 2010. Rep. Teri Sewell, another first-term incumbent in the state’s 7th District, won her primary; she is the state’s only African American and only Democrat.
  • A study of graduation rates for teams in the women’s college basketball championship tournament found higher numbers than those in the men’s event and a smaller disparity between white and black players, reported Bloomberg March 14.
  • African American economist, writer and pundit Julianne Malveaux discussed her recent decision to step down as president of historically black women’s school Bennett College, according to the Maynard Institute Feb. 28.

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