Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill that tightens security regulations regarding protests and demonstrations at abortion clinics in the state, Boston.com reported July 30. The bill, titled an Act to Promote Public Safety and Protect Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities, is meant to ensure safe access for those seeking reproductive health care services and will go into effect immediately. The law is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling against the state’s “buffer zone” law that banned protests within a 35-foot radius of abortion clinics. The new law requires protestors limiting access or exit be given a dispersal order requiring them to move at least 25-feet away.
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A Ugandan court struck down the country’s controversial anti-gay law, but ruled on “narrow technical grounds,” the New York Times reported August 1. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, punishing gay behavior with life in prison, was deemed invalid because it was passed by Parliament without a proper quorum.
Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Susan Davis, both California Democrats, proposed new legislation to address campus sexual assault, The Huffington Post reported July 30. The new text was submitted just hours after a broader bipartisan package on the same topic was unveiled. The Survivor Outreach and Support Campus Act, or SOS Campus Act, now would require the designation of a survivor advocate who acts independently of a university and must report to “someone outside the university’s sexual assault adjudication chain of command,” according to Boxer’s office.
ESPN suspended commentator Stephen A. Smith for a week for suggesting that women should avoid provoking men into assaulting them, The New York Times reported July 29. Smith made the comments during a discussion on NFL player Ray Rice’s suspension. Rice is accused of physically assaulting his fiancee in a casino elevator. Smith issued an apology saying that he had not intended to say that domestic violence was a woman’s fault. Rice has been suspended for two games and fined $58,000. Over 48,000 people have signed a petition that calls for the NFL to implement harsher punishments for players involved in violence against women, ThinkProgress.org reported July 28.
The last abortion clinic open in Mississippi will keep providing services to women. A federal appeals court panel has ruled that the law that would close the state’s only abortion clinic is unconstitutional, The Associated Press reported July 29. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is in Jackson, Miss., and is on the northern edge of the Delta region.
President Barack Obama criticized gender oppression in Africa, which he said is “crippling” development in some countries, Yahoo News reported July 28. It was the first time the U.S. president spoke out publicly against female genital mutilation while encouraging young leaders from the continent to empower women.
Attorney Michele Roberts has been voted as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, ESPN reported July 29. Roberts is the first woman to be head of a major North American sports union.
All workers in San Diego and Eugene, Ore. will now have access to paid sick days. City councils in both cities passed legislation on July 28, weeks after the White House Summit on Working Families was held. Full-time workers in San Diego will now have up to five paid sick days per year while an additional 25,000 workers in Eugene will have an additional hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.
A federal appeals court ruled that Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, NBC News reported July 28. The three-judge panel voted 2-1 against the ban. Virginia becomes the 19th state to allow same-sex marriage.
The Turkish deputy prime minister, who was ridiculed when he told women not to laugh in public, walked into a second social media storm on July 30 — this time for lashing out at women who “can’t wait to climb poles when they see one,” NBC News reported July 31. Bülent Arınç was attempting to explain his first comments, but appeared to make matters worse by suggesting women could not resist pole-dancing while on holiday with their extramarital lovers. His original remark about laughter earlier this week prompted thousands of women to post defiant, smiling selfies.
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Women are most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, according to a July 31 U.N. press release. Laurent Duviller, the U.N. regional communication specialist in the region, said it is because most health care workers currently on the ground are women and because women are more likely to look after family members suffering from the disease.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview on Yahoo News that five men on the court have a “blind spot” when it comes to discrimination against women, The Huffington Post reported July 31. Ginsburg was asked by Katie Couric whether the five male justices fully understood the ramifications of their decision to side with Hobby Lobby stores and allow for-profit corporations to refuse for religious reasons to cover contraception in their health insurance plans, Ginsburg replied, “I would have to say no.”
Discrimination at work goes unpunished in the United Kingdom since court fees were introduced last summer, according to figures that show the number of sex discrimination claims brought by women against employers have fallen 80 percent, The Independent reported July 29. Employees who have been harassed, bullied or sacked as a result of their sex or gender now have to pay £1,200 (about $2,020) for their claim to be heard in an employment tribunal.
A female suicide bomber blew herself up on a college campus in Kano, the biggest city in northern Nigeria, killing six and injuring six who were looking at a notice for national youth service, Al Jazeera English reported July 30. She was the fourth female suicide attack in Kano this week. A 10-year-old girl, believed to be a member of Boko Haram, was also arrested with explosives attached to her.
The Colorado Supreme Court ordered a county clerk to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses on July 29, ThinkProgress.org reported. Boulder Country Clerk Hillary Hall has issued over 200 licenses to same-sex couples since the state’s ban was overturned in June. The state and federal court decisions that overturned Colorado’s ban on same-sex marriage have been stayed, keeping the ban in place.
Younger African American women who are hospitalized with a heart attack fare worse than younger men, a Journal of the American College of Cardiology study released on July 29 has found. Approximately 25.9 percent of heart attack patients, aged 30 to 54, were women and 19.7 percent were African American women.
State officials say hundreds of women may have been secretly videotaped from hidden cameras found in bathrooms at the University of Delaware, ABC News reported July 27. Authorities arrested a graduate student after the cameras were found.
A Florida hospital threatened to force a pregnant patient to undergo a cesarean surgery against her will, RH Reality Check reported July 25. Jennifer Goodall was informed in a letter from the chief financial officer of Bayfront Health Port Charlotte that the hospital intends on seeking a court order to perform the surgery.
Sabrina Schaeffer and Vicki Alger from the Independent Women’s Forum argued for the benefits of school choice, the ability to send children to any type of school with tax credits and vouchers for women and girls, in a press call on July 31. “The growing variety of schools … helps make the teaching profession more attractive,” said Alger, who says almost three-fourths of all elementary and secondary school full-time teachers are women. “Schools offering different curricula, philosophies and schedules increase the likelihood of the best possible fit between them and teachers, which helps improve job satisfaction and teaching performance.” The Independent Women’s Forum is a D.C.-based nonprofit research and educational body focused on garnering more women to support the conservative agenda.
A former NYPD officer, acquitted on rape charges in 2008, is filing a $175 million lawsuit against the woman who accused him of assault, the city, the Manhattan district attorney and others, Gothamist reported July 31. The former cop Kenneth Moreno’s lawsuit accuses prosecutors of rushing the case to court “in order to advance their careers.” Read more in the Women’s eNews story “NYC Juror Questions Handling of Rape Evidence."
McDonald’s shares responsibility with its franchises in regards to working conditions, according to the National Labor Relations Board, the Chicago Tribune reported July 29. The announcement came just days after 1,300 fast-food workers voted to strike and engage in civil disobedience in demand for a $15 minimum wage and a union. The fast-food chain has argued that it is not responsible for the site-specific policies, including wages that franchise owners create.
British Member of Parliament David Ruffley announced he will not seek reelection after it was revealed that he assaulted his ex-girlfriend, The Guardian reported July 28. Ruffley has come under public pressure to resign and is facing an investigation by government officials. More than 35,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org calling for Ruffley to resign.
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