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The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in United States v. Castleman that federal law makes it a crime for people convicted of domestic violence to possess guns, The New York Times reported March 26. The case involved a domestic abuser and gun trafficker, James Castleman, who was convicted in Tennessee for a misdemeanor domestic assault on the mother of his child. His argument that the law did not apply to him because his conviction did not qualify as a crime of domestic violence was rejected by the court.
Lori Weinstein, CEO of Jewish Women International, applauded the ruling: “It is 500 times more likely that a woman will be killed by her intimate partner when there is a gun in the home.”
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New York City council passed a bill that protects unpaid interns from sexual harassment and discrimination based on race, religion and sexual orientation, Think Progress reported March 28. The legislation was proposed after a sexual harassment suit by an intern against her boss was rejected because she wasn’t a paid employee.
Planned Parenthood will open a $5 million surgical abortion facility in San Antonio in a few months, Reuters reported March 27. The opening will happen as other providers have been forced to close because of stringent restrictions passed by Texas lawmakers last year. The facility is expected to be completed by September, when new restrictions take effect, imposing surgical center standards for abortion clinics, even those that perform nonsurgical medication abortions.
The White House released a report March 26 making the case that raising the wage floor would benefit women in particular and help close the gender wage gap, the Huffington Post reported. The White House report says that about 55 percent of the workers who would see higher wages under the proposal would be women.
America’s economic progress over the past century has been fueled in large part by the advent of women in the workforce said Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a celebration in honor of Women’s History Month on Capitol Hill, the Washington Post reported March 25. “It is no coincidence that America’s great success in the past century came as women steadily increased their participation in every aspect of society,” Yellen said, according to prepared copy of her statement.
Jimmy Carter issued a call to action to end the abuse and subjugation of women, Think Progress reported March 24. The former U.S. president calls it the “worst and most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth.”
U.N. member states have agreed that gender equality and women’s rights must be prioritized in future discussions on what should be included in the next set of sustainable development goals, The Guardian reported March 23.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior Affairs recruited 13,000 women to work on security procedures at polling centers that are set up for women in an effort to ensure more women can vote, Ms. Magazine reported March 21. The Afghan Independent Election Commission reported that about one-third of registered voters are women and women’s rights have been a focus in recent debates between candidates.
Michigan will not recognize more than 300 same-sex marriages that took place last weekend, Gov. Rick Snyder said March 26. The decision is a blow to couples who were married after a court overturned the state’s same-sex marriage ban but before an appeals court stayed that ruling, Time reported. Snyder acknowledged that the marriages, which took place on March 22 between the time the law was struck down and the federal appeals court stayed that decision, were legal at the time they were officiated. But, he said, they won’t be recognized by the state until the appeals court rules on the lower court’s decision overturning the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a process that could take months.
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Indian women who experience economic and social gains in the form of employment and education are often at a greater risk for domestic violence, according to Population and Development Review, The New York Times reported March 27. Compared with women who do not work outside the home, women who are the only employed members of their households face more than twice the risk of frequent domestic violence and 1.51 times the risk of severe domestic violence, which includes beating, choking, burning or attack with a weapon. Women with more education than their husbands had 1.4 times the risk of domestic violence and 1.54 times the risk of frequent violence compared with women with less education than their husbands.
Attitudes toward women’s equality are dimmer in North Africa than in the rest of the continent, according to a new poll of about 50,000 people across 34 African countries, the Associated Press reported March 27. The Afrobarometer poll found women are at a disadvantage compared to men across Africa, but support for women’s equality is growing. Those polled in the predominantly Arab Muslim north gave the lowest level of support for equality and described the highest frequency of discrimination.
The Obama administration and its opponents are once again before the Supreme Court over the health care law. The most recent case pits the religious rights of employers against the rights of women to the birth control of their choice, the Telegram reported March 24. Read more in the Women’s eNews story, “Hobby Lobby Case Could Deliver Women a Bitter Pill.”
Abortion clinics in Michigan are seeing an influx of patients from neighboring Ohio after regulations that have made it more difficult for Ohio women to seek reproductive health care in their home state, Think Progress reported March 24. The state also cut off reproductive care for women who discover serious fetal abnormalities.
Michelle Byrom faces execution in Mississippi despite her son Edward Byrom Jr.‘s confession to having murdered his father, Think Progress reported March 23. When her husband died, Michelle Byrom was in the hospital with pneumonia. None of the several confession letters written by Edward Byrom Jr. were admitted to evidence.
Black women fare well in school, according to the latest report by the Black Women’s Roundtable. “The high school graduation rates of black women have jumped 63 percent, virtually eliminating the gap with Asian women, and significantly narrowing the gap with white women,” the report found. Yet, black women are more likely than any group in America to work for poverty-level wages, which makes them the most likely of all Americans to be among the working poor.
The 86-page report, “Black Women in the United States, 2014,” released March 27, assesses the overall conditions of black women in the U.S, from economy to health, to education to politics.
The report offers also a dire picture of black women’s health in the U.S., especially for those who have breast cancer. The disease, which has long been “known to be deadlier for black women than for their white counterparts,” is caused by the “disparities in access to treatment for breast cancer.” Five black women die daily in the country due to that reason, according to the report.
Having a baby can also be deadly for black women. “The maternal mortality rate for black women is fully three times that of white women,” found the report. Read more in this related Women’s eNews series.
Black women in the U.S. are also dying as a result of violence. “No woman is more likely to be murdered in America today than a black woman. No woman is more likely to be raped than a black woman,” according to the document. — Hajer Naili
South Dakota‘s governor approved an abortion restriction that bans abortions based on a fetus’ sex and makes it a felony for doctors to perform this type of “sex-selective” procedure, Think Progress reported March 28. The restriction is based on the mistaken belief that Asian women are more likely to terminate a pregnancy if they find out the fetus is female, which is not currently a problem among the Asian American or Pacific Islander community. Lawmakers who support this legislation claim it is in an effort to preserve gender equality. Nearly 92 percent of all abortions take place before the fetus’ gender can be determined.
Organizers against the women’s driving ban in Saudi Arabia are calling on more women to join on March 29, when President Barack Obama visits Riyadh, The Washington Post reported March 27.This week, 70 members of the U.S. Congress signed a bipartisan letter to Obama urging him to raise critical human rights cases in Saudi Arabia and meet with female activists. Amnesty International urged the president to go even further and select a female Secret Service agent as his driver while in Saudi Arabia.
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