#SayHerName Kicked Off; Tennessee Limits Abortion

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 The #SayHerName vigil in New York City this week

Credit: Hajer Naili

The #SayHerName vigil in New York City this week

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

May 21 was a national day of action to end police violence against black women. The day followed a vigil held in New York City to remember the black women and girls killed by the police. The movement, labeled #SayHerName, kicked off with the release of a brief by the African American Policy Forum, Say Her Name: The Urgent Need for a Gender Inclusive Movement to End State Violence. The document argues that the inclusion of black women’s experiences is critical to effectively combat anti-black state violence.

Here is a glimpse into the #SayHerName vigil in New York City.

More News to Cheer This Week:

“Femojis” are coming to your smartphones. Femojis, which stands for feminist emojis, an image available for easy sending such as happy faces, are now being created by the platform MAKERS. The platform decided to add a category of powerhouse feminist women emojis including Beyoncé, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham and Ellen DeGeneres, The Huffington Post reported May 21. The emoji set also includes lesser known feminist icons like Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel into space.

Los Angeles voted to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, the New York Times reported May 19. The increase — which the Los Angeles City Council passed in a 14-1 vote — comes as workers across the country are rallying for higher wages, and several large companies, including Facebook and Wal-Mart, have moved to raise their lowest wages. The impact is likely to be particularly strong in Los Angeles, where, according to some estimates, more than 40 percent of the city’s workforce earns less than $15 an hour.

Congress is moving to guarantee greater access to contraceptives for women in the U.S. military, The New York Times reported May 19. The annual defense policy bill, passed last week by the House, says military clinics and hospitals must be able to dispense any method of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The House bill also says women should, whenever possible, have access to “a sufficient supply” that will last for their entire deployment.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo introduced two new measures in the State Legislature that would give regulators greater authority to punish nail salons that mistreat workers and make it easier for manicurists to acquire licenses, The New York Times reported. One measure gives the state the power to punish salons flouting the law, including the ability to shut unlicensed salons. It will also be able to increase fines for violations. The second proposal would create a new class of workers, a trainee status, which would enable them to work toward receiving a license instead of paying employers a fee to learn the trade. 

Morocco’s king has ordered that laws restricting abortion be loosened, allowing it in the case of rape, incest, danger to the mother’s health or fetal malformation, The Associated Press reported May 16. So far, the kingdom has allowed abortion only in cases of a threat to the mother’s life. Despite the law, abortion is widespread in Morocco, with nongovernmental organizations estimating that as many as 800 illegal abortions are performed daily.

Jeers

Women seeking an abortion in Tennessee will now have to make two trips to a clinic, waiting 48 hours after getting in-person counseling from a doctor before being able to return for the procedure, USA Today reported. The new measure was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam into law May 18. Physicians who do not follow new rules on what to tell their patients during the in-person counseling could face either misdemeanor or felony charges or risk having their medical licenses revoked. Tennessee is now one of 28 states to require some form of abortion waiting period.

Meanwhile, a Tennessee congressman who supported his ex-wife’s decision to have two abortions voted last week for a bill that would ban later abortions, The Washington Post reported May 16. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R), an anti-abortion conservative and former physician from Jasper, Tenn., joined 241 fellow House members who voted May 13 to pass a bill that bans abortions from the 20th week of pregnancy onward, reported the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

More News to Jeer This Week:

In the custody dispute between Bill O’Reilly and his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy, Gawker has learned that the Fox News anchor was also accused of physically assaulting his wife. According to a source familiar with the facts of the case, O’Reilly’s daughter claimed to have witnessed her father dragging McPhilmy down a staircase by her neck, apparently unaware that their daughter was watching.

Indonesia’s top military commander defended a requirement that female recruits undergo an invasive “virginity test” to determine if they are morally suited for the armed forces, NPR reported May 17. His remarks follow a letter from Human Rights Watch condemning the practice. The virginity test “is a measure of morality. There’s no other way” to determine a person’s morality, Gen. Moeldoko said.

Film producer Valeria Richter, who has part of her left foot amputated, says she was stopped at the Cannes Film Festival for not wearing high heels, BBC News reported May 20. The festival has denied heels are part of the official dress code. Festival director Thierry Fremaux has said “rumors” of a ban on heels were “unfounded.” Writing on Twitter, he said: “For the stairs, the regulations have not changed: ‘No smoking, formal wear’. There is no mention of heels.”

Noted:

Thirty female activists are expected to walk from the North Korean border across the Demilitarized Zone to South Korea on May 24, CNN reported. The group of women includes feminist Gloria Steinem and two Nobel Peace laureates, Mairead Maguire from Ireland and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia. The group intends to draw attention to the need for peace between the Korean neighbors. Buthuman rights activists have criticized the event, saying the women’s group is missing major problems faced by North Korean women.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has chosen a prominent immigrant advocate, Lorella Praeli, to lead the presumptive Democratic candidate’s Latino outreach, Colorlines reported May 20.

Egypt has imposed restrictions on female citizens traveling to Turkey, Agence France-Presse reported May 17. Authorities introduced similar measures for men to stop them from joining the Islamic State jihadist group months ago. Women aged 18 to 40 are now required to obtain security clearance before going to Turkey.

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