Judges Halt Abortion Laws; 10% of All Girls Forced

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Credit: UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Louisiana from enforcing its restrictive new abortion law, The Associated Press reported Sept. 1. But lawyers and advocates appeared to disagree about whether the judge’s order affects doctors at all five abortion clinics in the state or only those at three clinics whose lawsuit challenges the measure. U.S. District Judge John deGravelles wrote that authorities cannot enforce the law until he holds a hearing on whether an order to block it is needed while the case remains in court. The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. The lawsuit claims doctors haven’t had enough time to obtain the privileges and the law likely would close all five clinics.

In Texas, a federal judge threw out new abortion restrictions that would have effectively closed more than a dozen clinics statewide in a victory for opponents of tough new anti-abortion laws sweeping across the United States, The Associated Press reported Aug. 29. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sided with clinics that sued over one of the most disputed measures of a sweeping anti-abortion bill signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry in 2013.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Cosmopolitan magazine, known for its celebrity covers, fashion tips and relationship advice, is diving into politics next week with its #CosmoVotes campaign, a new effort that will include candidate endorsements, stories on women-centric issues by a recently hired political writer and a social media effort to get readers to the polls and be part of “the party of the year,” Politico reported Sept. 4.

The all-women’s Mount Holyoke College announced this week that the university has officially changed its admission policy to formally allow transgender and gender queer individuals to enroll in the school, The Huffington Post reported Sept. 3. Last month, Mills College in California became the first all-female, higher-education institution in the U.S. to change its policy to welcome anyone who self-identifies as a woman to apply to the school.

Japan’s prime minister picked a record-matching five women for his Cabinet, The Huffington Post reported Sept. 3. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is sending the strongest message yet about his determination to revive the economy by getting women on board as workers and leaders. He has set a goal of having women in 30 percent of leadership positions by 2020.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated that the team will not tolerate domestic violence, USA Today reported Sept. 2. Harbaugh made his comments and maintained a firm stance about the topic during his radio segment on KNBR-AM, two days after 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested on felony domestic violence charges.

TBS has decided to cancel musician and TV personality CeeLo Green’s “The Good Life,” after women’s rights group UltraViolet petitioned the network to cancel the show, The Hollywood Reporter reported Sept. 2. The show focused on his reunion with his hip-hop group Goodie Mob. TBS’ decision comes as Green is mired in controversy following recent tweets about the nature of rape. Green has since deleted the tweets in which he implied that women can only be raped if they are conscious. He also compared rape to a home invasion. “If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! So WITH implies consent,” Green wrote. “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” he added. Green pleaded no contest in August to a felony count of furnishing ecstasy to a woman. He faced sexual assault charges in 2012.

The California Senate passed a bill guaranteeing at least three paid sick days a year for about 6.5 million workers, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), Think Progress reported Aug. 30. In a statement after it passed Brown said, “Tonight, the legislature took historic action to help hardworking Californians.” Assuming he signs the bill, California will become just the second state ever to guarantee paid sick leave and the law will be the 10th in the nation.

Jeers

A UNICEF report released Sept. 4 reveals that 1 in every 10 girls around the world–or about 120 million in total–is forced into intercourse or other sexual acts before the age of 20, Time reported. The report, data for which was collected from 190 countries, also indicated that 6 out of every 10 children worldwide between the ages of 2 and 14 are subjected to physical punishment by their parents or guardians, and that around 70 million girls ages 15 to 19–almost a quarter of the global total–report being victims of some form of physical violence.

In the United States, a CDC report reveals that nearly 1-in-5 women have been raped, Vox reported Sept. 5. The new study, based on data from 2011, also indicates that most rapes were committed by someone the victim knew with 45 percent saying their rapist was a current or former significant other. The report also lists women’s experiences with noncontact unwanted sexual experiences and sexual coercion.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Emma Sulkowicz, who says she was raped in her own dorm bed by a classmate on the first day of her sophomore year at Columbia University, has devised a thesis rooted in performance art to protest the fact that her rapist continues to study on campus, New York magazine reported Sept. 2. She has committed to carrying around a twin-size dorm mattress everywhere she goes on campus “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist.” Sulkowicz, now a senior, is one of 23 students who are part of a federal Title IX complaint filed against Columbia in April for mishandling sexual-assault cases. Though she and two other students reported that the same student had assaulted them, all of their claims were swept under the rug, they say, and the male student was not expelled from campus.

On an average, 92 women are raped every day in India. Delhi, with 1,636 cases, recorded the highest number of such crimes among all cities in the country last year, IBN Live reported Sept. 4. According to figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau, the total number of rape cases reported in India has gone up to 33,707 in 2013 from 24,923 in 2012.

Noted:

The White House announced Google executive Megan Smith as its next chief technology officer, the Washington Post reported Sept. 4. Smith is an MIT-trained mechanical engineer with a record of focusing on digital inclusiveness working to bring more women into the engineering and technology fields and to support LGBT communities through the online LGBT community PlanetOut. Smith will be the country’s third-ever chief technology officer.

Washington, D.C., ranks the highest in the nation for women’s employment and earnings, while West Virginia ranks the lowest, according to a new analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the group said in a press statement Sept. 2. The analysis indicates that states across the nation vary widely in their progress towards achieving equality for women in the workplace. It includes state-by-state rankings and letter grades based on a composite score of economic indicators that includes women’s labor force participation and median annual earnings for women.

While the number of patients opting for a double mastectomy is increasing, a study released this week found that having a targeted surgery plus radiation will give equivalent results, Agence France-Presse reported Sept. 3.

In Memoriam:

Joan Rivers — who made the world laugh for more than five decades with her jokes, put-downs and one-liners — died in New York City a week after her heart suddenly stopped beating during vocal cord surgery, TMZ reported Sept. 4. Rivers, 81, broke through in a big way during her appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. She is widely credited for opening doors for countless female comedians.

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