Lawmaker Says Pregnant Women Must Give Birth to Fetuses With No Brain Function
Texas lawmaker told said a woman who made the difficult choice to terminate a non-viable pregnancy that she should have carried the fetus to term anyway, Think Progress
reported May 24. Although an MRI had already revealed that the fetus was missing a large part of his brain and didn’t have much chance of survival, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested that Christy Zink should have given birth to her son anyway.
U.S. Teen Birth Rate At All-Time Low
Teen birth rates in the United States, which have been declining for two decades, have reached a record low, with significant drops in almost every state, Time Magazine
reported May 24. The report,
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that teen birth rates fell at least 15 percent in all states with the exception of West Virginia and North Dakota during the years 2007 to 2011. Rates in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah fell by 30 percent or more.
Obama Warns Sexual Assaults Threaten to Weaken Military
President Obama used a commencement speech before Naval Academy graduates to warn that rising numbers of sexual assaults in the military threatened to erode America’s faith in the armed forces, The New York Times
reported May 24. Those people “threaten the trust and discipline which makes our military strong,” said Obama.
'Comfort Women' Cancel Meeting With Japanese Mayor
Two South Korean women who were forced during World War II to provide sex to Japanese soldiers canceled a meeting with a Japanese mayor who had caused an uproar by appearing to defend the system of wartime brothels, The New York Times
reported May 24. The cabinet of Japan’s conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, also passed a resolution to support a 1993 apology that Japan issued to women forced into sexual servitude during the war.
Four Colleges Face Charges of Mishandling Sexual Assault
Four universities across the country are facing allegations of mishandling sexual assault cases in violation of the Clery Act and Title IX, Ms. Magazine
reported May 24.
USA Swimmer Abused by Coach Presses Officials
A woman who was sexually abused as a teenager in the 1980s by a Hall of Fame swimming coach used the occasion of his sentencing to demand the departure of three leaders in USA Swimming who she said knew about the coach’s misconduct and failed to act, The New York Times
reported May 23. For five years beginning when she was 13, the woman, Kelley Davies Currin, was sexually abused by Rick Curl, her coach on a suburban Washington team that he founded.
Female Cadets Secretly Filmed in Shower at West Point
A U.S. military sergeant first class has been accused of secretly photographing and filming at least 12 female cadets at West Point, in some instances while they were naked in the bathroom or shower, TV news channel Russia Today
reported May 23. Sgt. 1st
Class Michael McClendon is facing numerous charges for allegedly gathering inappropriate photos and videos of women at the US Military Academy at West Point -- charges which were discovered by the New York Times but not officially announced by the US Army.
Women Hailed as Heroes For Shielding Body of Dead Soldier in England
Female passers-by shielded the body of a soldier who was beheaded by two suspected terrorists in Woolwich, south east London Wednesday while armed police took 20 minutes to arrive at the scene, The Telegraph
reported May 22. After the men dragged the soldier's body into the road, witnesses said "brave women" shielded the dead man's body from further attack.
Anthony Weiner Says Women May Come Forward With More E-Mails, Photos
Former congressman and newly announced New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (D) said in an interview Thursday morning with WNYC-FM
that there could be women coming forward with more e-mails or photos from the inappropriate digital conversations that led to his resignation in 2011, The Washington Post
reported May 23.
Roomates Charged With Felony After Herbal-Induced Abortion
Jessica Carpenter and Rachel Lowe of Norfolk, Va. are being charged with felonies for producing a miscarriage, as reported by The Raw Story on May 22. Twenty-seven year-old Rachel Lowe, a former women's clinic employee, is accused of providing 20-year-old Carpenter with a concoction of health store herbs that would end the pregnancy which was six months in. Virginia's abortion laws are at the frontline of the debate. The state classifies self-induced abortions a Class 4 felony that carries a two-to-10 year prison sentence and up to $100,000 in fines.
Social Media Goes After Misogynistic Content on Facebook
A group of activists have launched a campaign to remove misogynistic content from Facebook by targeting companies that advertise on its site, ALJazeera
reported May 22. In addition to demanding the social network address the problem, the group encourages people to tweet, email and leave messages on the Facebook pages of companies whose ads appear alongside the objectionable content. Organizers are asking them to suspend their ads until Facebook takes action. The campaign hashtag #FBrape has been used more than 10,000 times to-date, and companies have been responding.
Ethiopian Activist Gains National Recognition for Anti-Mutilation Work
Ethiopian activist Bogaletch Gebre won a $580,000 prize from the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium, according to a report by BBC
on May 22. Over the course of 10 years, the activist was able to bring the rate female circumcision down from 100 percent to just 3 percent through her community organization, Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma, which hosted "community conversations" throughout remote areas with high illiterracy.
Afghan Islamist Students Protest Against Women's Rights
Islamist students protested May 22 in Kabul demanding the repeal of a presidential decree for women's rights that they say is un-Islamic, the Associated Press
reported. The debate was sparked by government proceedings that are trying to solidify women's rights protections introduced in conjunction with the U.S.-led invasion. The decree bans child marriage and forced marriage, makes domestic violence a crime and says rape victims cannot be prosecuted for adultery.
Jodi Arias Begs Jury for Life Sentence Instead Death Penalty
As an Arizona jury resumes deliberating about whether she deserves the death penalty for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Jodi Arias is now begging for her life after initially saying she preferred to die, NBC News
reported May 22. “What I receive will be what I deserve, I believe,’’ she told NBC’s Diana Alvear only hours after she begged the jury to spare her lifeTuesday. In her interview with Alvear, which aired on TODAY Wednesday, Arias said she deserves life in prison instead of the death penalty because she still has a lot to contribute to society. She also said she feels betrayed by the jury’s verdict, which her attorneys plan to appeal.
San Francisco Federal Court Strikes Down Arizona 20-Week Abortion Ban
A federal court in San Francisco Tuesday struck down Arizona's ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, The Associated Press
reported May 21. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law violates a string of U.S. Supreme Court rulings starting with Roe v. Wade that guarantees a woman's right to an abortion before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. That's generally considered to be about 24 weeks.
Democrats Look to Crack Down on Anti-Abortion 'Crisis Pregnancy Centers'
Democrats in the House and Senate are looking to stop what they say are deceptive advertising practices by anti-abortion health clinics that imply they offer abortion services, but instead encourage birth and promote adoption, The Hill reported May 20.
The legislation is aimed at crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which are clinics often set up by a church or other anti-abortion groups. Democrats in Congress and other pro-abortion groups say these clinics are known to indicate they can perform abortions in order to attract pregnant women patients, and then try to convince them to carry their babies to term.
Number of Afghan Women Jailed for 'Moral Crimes', Fleeing Abuses on the Rise
The number of Afghan women jailed for fleeing forced and abusive marriages, and other "moral crimes", has soared since 2011, according to Human Rights Watch, The Guardian
reported May 21. About 600 women and girls are in prison for offences including running away from their husband or family, even though fleeing abuse is not a crime under Afghan law. Eighteen months ago, 400 women were being held for such "crimes", the rights group said, quoting figures from the ministry of interior. The report was released days after Afghanistan's parliament
failed to pass a landmark law protecting women from violence, because religious conservatives rejected key provisions, including a minimum marriage age of 16 for girls.
Women's Strike Force Kicks Off Fight for Virginia Women
The Women’s Strike Force (WSF) kicks off their candidate interviewing process this week to identify and assist candidates who support women’s reproductive rights, the organization announced in a press statement May 21. WSF backs candidates who oppose the extreme policies of the Republican ticket announced at the GOP convention.
Virginia Republicans chose a radical ticket May 18 with the nomination of Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II for governor, E.W. Jackson for lieutenant governor, and state Senator Mark Obenshain for attorney general. The reactionary trio represents Republican legislator’s continuing war on women and incessant intrusion into women's reproductive healthcare decisions, says WSF in its communique.
Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Law Banning Abortion Past 12 Weeks
A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of an Arkansas law banning abortions past twelve weeks when a heartbeat is detected, Christian News Network
reported May 21. Judge Susan Weber Wright granted an injunction May 17 to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which had filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of abortionists Louis Jerry Edwards and Tom Tvedten, who work at Little Rock Family Planning Clinic
in the state capital. Edwards and Tvedten are challenging the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which was passed by lawmakers in March.
GOP Seeks to Recruit More Women for Office but 'Institutional Barriers' Remain
The Republican Party is actively working to recruit more women to run for public office, but they still face "institutional barriers" to getting involved in GOP politics at the ground level, Republican State Leadership Committee President Chris Jankowski said Monday, Yahoo News
reported May 20. "Sometimes our party does not value them as much," Jankowski told reporters at a morning briefing at the RSLC headquarters in Washington, D.C. referring to female candidates. "They are a great asset as candidates. They bring a different approach to campaigning. We obviously need more women to enter public office and get on that escalator to higher office so that our leadership reflects stronger women in the Republican Party."
Oman Proposes Gulf Ban on Women Wearing Face Veil When Driving
A Saudi online newspaper says Oman is proposing that women be banned from wearing face veils when driving, The Associated Press
reported May 21. Al-Watan said Tuesday Oman made the proposal at a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council police traffic department heads. It singled out the niqab, a mask that covers a woman's face, leaving only a slit for her eyes. The Oman delegate said that wearing a niqab while driving should be a traffic violation
, indicating that the garment restricts vision and represents a hazard.
Barbara Brenner, Breast Cancer Iconoclast, Dies at 61
Barbara Brenner, who led the group Breast Cancer Action and shaped it in her own combative image, pillorying the medical establishment, industrial polluters and even other cancer
research advocates, died on May 10 at her home in San Francisco, The New York Times
reported May 20. Brenner was 61.
Egypt's Interior Ministry Creates Unit to Address Violence Against Women
of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim issued a decision to create a violence-against-women department within the ministry, The Daily News Egypt
reported May 19. The department would be part of the human rights sector within the Interior Ministry. Police officers competent in the field of women’s issues would be chosen for the new department. Mohamed Al-Meleigy, the office head of the deputy minister of interior for human rights, said the establishment of the department was instigated by the country’s growing sexual harassment phenomenon.
Sen. Hagan Says Service Women Live in Debilitating Fear of Sexual Assault
Women serving in the military live in debilitating fear of sexual assault, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan said on Monday’s Morning Joe, MSNBC
reported May 20. “Women actually have told me they’d limit the intake of fluid in the late afternoon, early evening, so they don’t have to use the latrine late at night in the middle of the night, because they’re worried about sexual assault,” the Democratic senator said on TV, speaking out against the military’s sexual assault crisis. Hagan, a member of the Senate Armed Services committee, added she supports the bipartisan Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013 which aims to to create sexual assault victims’ advocates and special victim’s units. “This is a crime and it needs to be addressed as a crime, this is not a cultural phenomenon” she said, advocating the full prosecution of assaults. “The military code of justice needs to address it as a crime.”
Va. Nominee For Attorney General Wanted Women to Report Miscarriage to Police
In a bill introduced in 2009 by Virginia state Sen. Mark Obenshain (R), a woman who had a miscarriage without a doctor present would have had to report it within 24 hours to the police or risk going to jail for a full year, Think Progress
reported May 20. The bill didn't become a law but the Virginia Republican Party now wants to make Obenshain into the state’s top prosecutor. This weekend, Virginia Republicans selected Obenshain as their nominee to replace tea party stalwart Ken Cuccinelli (R) as the state’s attorney
Tunisia's Femen Activist, Amina, Arrested and Charged With 'Immoral Acts'
The controversial Tunisian activist known as Amina, who posted topless pictures of herself online as part of the Femen activist campaign earlier this year, was arrested Sunday in Kairouan, Tunisia Live
reported May 20. She had announced Friday on her Facebook page that she would appear in the Tunisian town of Kairouan in anticipation of the expected annual congress of the Salafist organization Ansar al-Sharia, and would protest against that group. The gathering was canceled after an important deployment of security forces. Amina appeared to have painted the word“Femen” on the wall of a cemetery near the al-Okba mosque, along with anti-Salafist slogans, but she did not expose herself at any point. The Ministry of Interior asserted that a she was on charges of “immoral acts."
Home of One Women of The Wall 's Leaders Spray-Painted
Israeli police say vandals have spray-painted slogans on the home of one of the leaders of a liberal Jewish women's group that has angered ultra-Orthodox communities over its demands for equality of worship, the Associated Press
reported May 20. Israeli TV footage showed black writing
on the hallway and door of the Jerusalem home. The police is investigating. The group, known as "Women of the Wall," convenes monthly prayer
services at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray
, wearing prayer shawls and performing rituals that ultra-Orthodox Jews believe only men are allowed to do.
Former 'Hero Cop' Charged With Raping Two Women at Gunpoint
A former “hero cop” who was once rewarded for his bravery in the line of duty with a seat next First Lady Michelle Obama during a presidential speech is being held on $60 million bail
for allegedly raping two women at gunpoint and assaulted another, NBC 10 News
reported May 19. A source told NBC 10 News that Richard DeCoatsworth forced two women to use drugs and perform oral sex on him at gunpoint. DeCoatsworth was charged with rape, sexual assault, terroristic threats. He is now also charged in a separate domestic violence case after he assaulted his live-in girlfriend on May 9.
Saudi Woman Tops Everest
Saudi woman Raha Moharrak reached the summit of Nepal's Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, in a first for the conservative Muslim kingdom where women's sports are severely restricted, Agence France Presse
reported May 19. The 25-year-old reached the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) summit early Saturday morning with a party of foreign mountaineers and Nepalese guides.
Women in Nepal Tortured For Witchcraft
Women accused of witchcraft in Nepal are often tortured and beaten by their own community, Al Jazeera
reported in an online video May 19. It is thought that about four women are abused every month, having their heads shaved and being beaten and bound. Human rights activists have been trying to stop the persecution but they say current legislation is too weak and is not helping.
Pakistan's Senior Female Politician Killed Amidst Tension in Election Campaign
Gunmen killed a senior female politician from a reformist party in Pakistan Saturday night, Reuters
reported May 19. It is the latest violent incident in a bloody election campaign and one that set off a war of words between two major opposition parties. It was not immediately clear who killed Zohra Shahid Hussain, a senior member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Afghan Lawmakers Block Law Protecting Women's Rights
Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation aimed at strengthening provisions for women's freedoms, arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles and encourage disobedience, The Associated Press
reported May 18.
The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009, but only by presidential decree but has been brought before parliament to cement it with a parliamentary vote to prevent its potential reversal by any future president.
The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans "baad," the traditional practice of selling and buying women to settle disputes. It also makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
Sheryl Sandberg Says 'It's Okay to Cry at Work'
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in an interview
published Saturday that it's ok for women to cry at work, share emotions and be honest about their femininity, Agence France Presse
reported May 18. In an interview with India's Mint daily, the 43-year-old admitted: "I cry at work," adding women are not "one type of person Monday through Friday" and "then a different person in the nights and weekend." "I think we are all of us emotional beings and it's okay for us to share that emotion at work," said Sandberg.
Obama Nominates Four Women to Serve as Federal Judges
President Obama nominated four women to serve on four different courts, The White House reported on its blog
May 17. If confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Judge Carolyn McHugh would be the first woman from Utah to serve on that court. Obama also appointed Pamela Reeves and Elizabeth Wolford to be the first women to serve as district court judges in the Eastern District of Tennessee and Western District of New York. They yet have to be confirmed.In the Northern District of Mississippi, Obama chose Debra Brown. If confirmed, she would be the first African-American court judge to serve in the district and in the entire state.
Three Teens Rape 12-Yearl Old Girl, Post Video on Facebook
Three teenagers face sex assault charges after they raped a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint and posted a video of the December attacks on Facebook, The Chicago Tribune
reported May 17.
Scandale Fritz, 16, Kenneth Brown, 15, and Justin Applewhite, 16, were all ordered held in lieu of $900,000 bail. The three were charged as adults