Alabama Told to Obey Law; NY Mistreats Prisoners

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Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr, under Creative Commons

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

A federal judge has ordered a county official in Mobile, Ala., to comply with an earlier ruling and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the reported . Judge Callie V.S Granade had originally declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. However, Roy S Moore, the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, did not believe the ruling applied to probate judges and told them to ignore the ruling. 

More News to Cheer This Week:

Josh Earnest, White House press secretary, said Congress should pass paid-leave legislation, reported . Legislation suggested by President Barack Obama during the State of the Union would require companies to offer seven paid sick days per year. It would also provide six weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave.

Earlier this month, Ecuadorian lawyers presented the case of a Colombian domestic violence abuse victim Mariela Cabrera Ponce to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, reported . The report argues that Ponce should be afforded refugee status by the government in Quito. In not doing so, it alleges, Ecuador is violating the CEDAW treaty.

President Obama asked viewers of the 2015 Grammy Awards to help put an end to sexual violence, reported . "It’s on us, all of us, to create a culture, where violence isn’t tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all our young people, men and women, can go as far as their talents and their dreams can take them," Obama said. His speech was followed by domestic abuse survivor, Brooke Axtell, who spoke about her experience and advocated change.

The Human Rights Commission of Northern Ireland has won the battle to review the almost outright ban on abortion in the region, reported the , Feb. 2. The commission said its legal challenge was in part due to the exclusion of rape and incest victims in the Department of Justice’s proposals to reform the abortion law.

University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan spoke to students about the school’s new policies to end sexual assault on campus as well as ways to better support survivors, reported . An Ad Hoc Group on Climate and Culture has been created and put in charge of implementing these policies and initial interim reports are expected from the group by mid-March.

Jeers

Four thousand female prisoners in New York State deal with substandard reproductive health care, according to a by the Correction Association of New York, reported . The report says women are shackled during childbirth, fed "insufficient" food and experience "damaging" childbirth experiences. It also claims the medical staff in prisons is not properly trained to handle the issues pregnant prisoners face, both before and after giving birth. Prisoners, whether pregnant or not, also have difficultly receiving gynecological care and are deprived of essential hygiene products.

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Two other women, Lisa Brown and Lise-Lotte Lublin, publicly accused Bill Cosby of drugging them and one claimed she was sexually assaulted by the comic, reported . Both women had similar stories to others who have spoken out against Cosby.

Black girls are suspended from school six times more often than white girls, according to data from the Department of Education, reported . Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, a Columbia University law professor, said people did not make much of the stat, as the "issue of black girls [in education] falls between the cracks." Black girls have "a double vulnerability," Crenshaw added, as they are treated often based on gender and racial stereotypes.

Republican Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order Feb. 10 wiping out protections for LGBT workers, effectively making it legal for the state to harass, fire or deny positions to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, reported.

Over 100 anti-abortion bills have been introduced by state lawmakers since the beginning of 2015, reported . The article reports that bills regulating abortion service and access have been proposed in 28 out of 50 states.

Amnesty International has called upon Maldives to launch a moratorium on flogging and to cancel all convictions for the crime of fornication, reported . "Laws criminalizing ‘fornication’ or ‘adultery’ can act as a deterrent to women and girls reporting rape because they fear being prosecuted if their allegations are not believed," says the report. Additionally, Amnesty also recommends that Maldives’ laws on rape and other forms of sexual violence are brought up to international human rights standards.

A United Nations human rights report found that schools in at least 70 different countries were attacked in the five years between 2009 and 2014, with many attacks specifically targeting girls, parents and teachers advocating for gender equality in education, the reported .

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani education activist who survived an attack by the Taliban, criticized Nigerian and world leaders for not doing enough to free the students kidnapped from Chibok by Boko Haram, the reported . The joint Nobel Prize winner commented more would have been done to rescue the female teens had they come from more privileged backgrounds.

has revealed that colleges are continuing to get away with underreporting sexual assaults, reported . Research found that when colleges were under the watch of an audit from the Department of Education, the number of reports increased. Once the audit was complete, the number of reports decreased to pre-audit levels.

The Supreme Court will not hear the case of Angela Ames, reported . Ames was forced to resign from her job at Nationwide Insurance because she needed a place to breastfeed. The court argued that firing a woman for breastfeeding cannot be discrimination because men can lactate.

The Venezuelan economic crisis is leading to a health crisis as the cost of a 36-pack of condoms has risen to approximately $750, reported . Venezuela already has one of the highest rates for STDs and teen pregnancies in South America, and the shortage of condoms will exacerbate the situation as people will not stop having sex, they will just stop having safe sex, reported the article. Since abortion is illegal in Venezuela, the disappearance of contraceptives may also increase the number of female deaths as more pregnant women will be driven to clandestine health care clinics.

Feb. 6 was the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation. More than 130 million girls and women in the 29 countries where the practice is concentrated today have undergone some form of FGM, according to the . Against this backdrop, a London court acquitted Feb. 4 a doctor of carrying out FGM. It was the first such case to be prosecuted in Britain, reported.

Noted:

Amy Pascal, former Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair, said that although gender inequality does exist in Hollywood, it is not the fault of the industry, rather women must demand equal pay, reported . "[Women] want to work for less, I pay them less money," Pascal said.

Careers in science, engineering, and health care dominate annual ranking of the 20 best-paying jobs for women this year. Forbes recorded median yearly earnings close to $80,000. Another report, issued by the White House Council of Economic Advisors in October, said that women’s earnings account for upwards of 40 percent of married parents’ income, up from a third four decades ago, and women are the primary breadwinner in almost one-third of dual-income couples.

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