An amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that extends reproductive health services to servicewomen was approved May 24 by the Senate Armed Services Committee and will be included in the National Defense Authorization Act, reported Ms. Magazine May 25. Under the amendment, armed servicewomen will be granted the same rights as civilian women under federal policies that provide affordable abortion care to women who are the victims of rape or incest. Under the current policy, servicewomen are only eligible for abortion care if her life is at risk. The amendment will now go to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- The European Parliament this week adopted a report urging Turkey to follow up on its recent work toward securing gender equality and women’s rights, reported UPI May 24.
- The New Hampshire Senate has once again killed a bill that would have required pregnant women to wait 24 hours for an abortion, The Associated Press reported May 23. The Senate already had voted last month to kill a House-passed bill requiring such waits, only to have the House add it to an unrelated Senate bill on the same day.
- A swarm of Washington, D.C., residents descended on the office of Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., on May 23 to drop off plastic rats, pictures of potholes, unfair parking tickets and other representations of municipal problems in protest of the D.C. abortion ban he sponsored, The HuffPost reported May 23. Franks recently introduced a bill that would ban abortions in D.C. after 20 weeks of pregnancy
- Football’s world governing body FIFA has elected a female member to the executive committee for the first time in its history, ESPN reported May 22.
- Thousands of British women over 40 could be eligible for fertility treatment by the National Health Service under new proposals published May 22 in England, The Daily Mail reported. The health rationing body will also advise the health service to offer free in vitro fertilization to gay and lesbian couples as long as they have tried–and failed– at least six times to produce successful pregnancies while relying on private fertility clinics.
Husbands are now the biggest threat to women in post-conflict West Africa, according to a report by the International Rescue Committee released May 22, The Guardian reported. The report, “Let Me Not Die Before My Time: Domestic Violence in West Africa,” said domestic violence is the “most urgent, pervasive and significant protection issue for women in West Africa.” It calls on the international community to recognize domestic violence as a humanitarian issue and to increase funding significantly to address the problem.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- In the wake of a new law in Wisconsin that adds vague restrictions to offering medical abortions, no abortion providers in the state will offer RU-486, a pill that induces abortion early in pregnancies, according to RH Reality Check May 22.
- A woman traveling home from an abortion rights seminar was detained and forced off an American Airlines flight May 22 because the captain and crew found her pro-choice T-shirt “offensive,” reported RH Reality Check.
- Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, introduced legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood, The HuffPost reported May 23. Metcalfe’s bill would put health care providers that offer abortion services at the bottom of the priority list for state funding.
- On May 22 The New York Times underscored the horror and injustice suffered by Native women in Alaska’s remote villages, who are 12 times more likely than the average woman in the United States to become a victim of sexual violence.
- Mid-career and senior women tend to be found disproportionally in staff jobs, or “pink ghettos,” relative to men, a McKinsey study reports, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported May 23. The report found that 50 percent to 65 percent of women at the vice-president level and higher are in staff roles, compared with only 41 percent to 48 percent of men, who are more likely to be in the line jobs that lead to the top.
- Major Catholic groups are suing the Obama administration over its requirements that employers provide contraception and abortion services as part of health coverage for employees, The Christian Science Monitor reported May 21. The Department of Health and Human Services issued the new rules in January. The University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations say the mandates violate their religious liberties.
- The Louisiana state Senate approved May 22 legislation that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on evidence that fetuses have the capacity to feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Life News reported May 22.
- One of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, faces a lawsuit from a female investment partner claiming gender discrimination and retaliation, The Wall Street Journal reported May 22.
- As more women have become a target for criminals and sexual predators in India, millions of them have purchased handguns in recent years to protect themselves from crime, violence and sexual assault, The International Business Times reported May 22.
- The Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, Alabama’s only women’s prison, is the site of sexual assault and “pervasive sexual harassment,” says a report by The Equal Justice Initiative, CNN reported May 22.
- Supporters of female bishops in the Church of England have reacted angrily after last-minute amendments to the draft law that hedges support for allowing women to be appointed, BBC News reported May 22.
- As world leaders gathered in Chicago to discuss the future of Afghanistan, human rights groups said Afghan women are being left out of the conversation, Voice of America reported May 20. At the same time, Amnesty International issued an open letter, urging U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to keep their promise to safeguard women’s rights and freedoms.
- Ukraine’s education minister is in hot water after saying that women at the highest levels of study in the country’s university system are less attractive than other Ukrainian women, Radio Free Europe reported May 21. Dmytro Tabachnyk said last week that the country’s better graduate and post-graduate students “are girls who have a less bright, less attractive and less model-like appearance.”
- The New York City hotel maid accusing the former head of the International Monetary Fund of trying to rape her added a gender-based violence claim to her lawsuit against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, WNYC reported May 22. In court papers, Nafissatou Diallo said Strauss-Kahn has shown “animus toward women.”
- In an effort to fight back against the narrative that GOP policies are bad for women, Republican women in the House launched May 21 the Women’s Policy Committee, The Hill reported May 22. The committee has “the goal of raising the profile of GOP women in their roles as lawmakers, highlighting their diverse achievements and providing a unique, unified voice on a wide range of critically important issues,” according to a press release.
- A Romney presidency would decimate health care for 5 million poor and uninsured people a year, wrote Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in the Newsweek/Daily Beast on May 20.
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