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Bill Aids Rape Victims; House Attacks Choice Again

Thursday, May 5, 2011



(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

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Congressman Steve Rothman, D-N.J., re-introduced a bill May 4 giving full access to emergency contraception in the emergency room to help survivors of sexual assault, according to a press release. The Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act would prohibit any federal funds from being provided to a hospital unless they meet requirements, such as offering education on emergency contraception and affordable access to it.

"While I understand how passionate people on both sides of this debate are, we all agree that we should avoid unintended pregnancies, especially in the case of rape or sexual assault," said Rothman in the statement.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., admits a deal with the White House on a plan to remake Medicare is unlikely, the Washington Post reported May 5.
  • Researchers and representatives from the criminal justice system will team up to establish protocol for testing sexual assault kits, according to a press release by Sam Houston State University. For background read WeNews' commentary on why the testing of all rape kits is not necessary.
  • Glamour magazine launched "Tell Somebody," a campaign to raise awareness of unreported incidences of relationship abuse, on May 3, the anniversary of the murder of a female lacrosse player by her boyfriend, reported CBS.

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Jeers

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House lawmakers passed H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, reported the Weekly Standard May 4. If the Senate and President Obama approve the bill, according to Ms. Magazine, it would permanently ban women in the military from obtaining an abortion in a military hospital overseas, even if they pay for it with their own (not federal) money. Under the bill, Americans who have private insurance plans that include abortion coverage would have to pay tax penalties, and federal workers who pay their own insurance premiums out of pocket would nonetheless be prohibited from having abortion coverage in their insurance, reported Ms. Magazine.

"This move is the height of hypocrisy," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement in response to the House vote, "because politicians who regularly rail against big government today voted to raise taxes on millions of families and small businesses merely to stop them from purchasing insurance plans that cover abortion."

Read WeNews' article for more background on the act.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Florida Senate passed two abortion bills May 5 and now three are being sent to Gov. Rick Scott, who says he will sign them. After a heated debate, Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Omond Beach, criticized her colleagues for spending so much time on abortions when there are more pressing issues. Texas and South Carolina legislatures also addressed abortion bills this week.
  • Fewer Colorado women are seeking mammograms after disputed national guidelines in 2009 recommended less screenings for women 40 to 49, according to a University of Colorado Hospital study, reported the Denver Post May 2. In New York City, City Comptroller John C. Liu reported dangerously long waits for women in need of mammograms at some hospitals, according to an audit released May 4.
  • Women are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis, while falling being men on corporate boards. A major national poll released May 5 by the Ms. Foundation for Women reported 77 percent of low-income women are living paycheck to paycheck, a 17-point jump from last year. Meanwhile, men still dominate corporate boards compared to women and minorities, according to report released May 2 by the nonprofit Catalyst. Read WeNews' story for background on the recession's impact on women.
  • The Susan B. Anthony List recently hired a lobbyist to keep the pressure on lawmakers to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, lobbying records show, The Hill reported May 3.
  • A 24-year-old woman, who was stabbed to death in South Africa, is the victim of "corrective rape"--when men attack lesbians in an attempt to reverse their sexual orientation--gay rights activists said May 5, according to CNN.
  • In Ghana, 450 mothers out of every 100,000 died in live births in 2008, reported the Global Press Institute May 5, due to lack of access to medical care and cultural challenges that limit care options and lead to risky abortions.

Noted:

  • Low numbers of midwives and maternal mortality made the news this week. In honor of International Day of the Midwife on May 5, the United Nations Population Fund released a statement highlighting the important role of midwives during childbirth and noted the shortage of approximately 350,000 professional midwives worldwide. Amnesty International is rallying supporters for Mother's Day and throughout May to push Congress to act quickly to improve access to care and standards of maternity care. However, the best place in the world to be a mom is Norway, where maternal and child mortality rates are low, according to a new study reported the Associated Press May 3.
  • Republicans in the House and Senate introduced a bill, a smaller-scale measure compared to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposal, May 3 that would eliminate federal regulations that prevent states from reducing or eliminating beneficiaries and money distribution for Medicaid, reported Mother Jones May 4.
  • A woman killed during the U.S. raid of Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan was not his wife and was not used as a human shield by the al-Qaida leader before his death, a U.S. official said May 2, correcting an earlier description, the Daily Beast reported.
  • A recent study reported a daily dose of a hormone gel can reduce premature births by nearly half among women at high risk, reported the New York Times May 3.

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