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Morocco May Allow Abortion; Political Gap Persists

Saturday, January 14, 2012



(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

A top aide to Morocco's prime minister confirmed that the leader would support allowing abortions in the case of rape or incest, The New York Times reported Jan. 11. The aide explained in an interview that such a law would address the high number of illegal abortions in the country, as well as single mothers living in poverty. The new government's position is a sharp change from the party's previous stances on abortion-related issues.

Under current Moroccan law, abortions are only allowed with a husband's consent in order to save a woman's life or maintain her physical or mental health, meaning that unmarried women could legally have an abortion.

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More News to Cheer This Week:

  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office says he has decided to give France's highest award -- the Legion of Honor -- to Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, reported the Associated Press Jan. 13. Sarkozy praised Suu Kyi's courage while also commending Myanmar's recent release of political prisoners.
  • New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for raising New York's minimum wage in his State of the City address, NY Daily News reported Jan. 12. This follows Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's call for a raise in minimum wage, which at $7.25 per hour lags behind many states, including those such as Montana and Arizona, which have lower costs of living.
  • The number of female directors in British boardrooms has reached its highest ever level, The Guardian reported Jan. 10. Women now comprise 14.9 percent of directors at the 100 largest companies, up from 12.5 percent in 2010, when "radical change" was called for.
  • Minnesota elected the first openly lesbian Native American to a state legislature, the Huffington Post reported Jan. 11. Democrat Susan Allen, an attorney, has stated she plans to fight a proposed constitutional amendment in Minnesota that would ban same-sex marriage.
  • Those still alive who were forcibly sterilized as part of a decades-long eugenics program in North Carolina should receive a one-time payment of $50,000, a state task force recommended Jan. 10, reported CNN. North Carolina sterilized an estimated 7,600 people between 1929 and 1974, many of them against their will. Many states once had eugenics programs, and seven have apologized, but North Carolina is the first to consider paying victims. The payments will need to be approved by North Carolina's legislature.
  • A British woman won a court order to stop sexually explicit photos of herself from being distributed on the web, The Telegraph reported Jan. 11. The judge in the case ruled that the Human Rights Act granted her a "reasonable expectation of privacy" and that the distribution of the explicit pictures violated the Protection from Harassment Act.
  • A Pakistan regional assembly unanimously passed a law making it illegal for parents not to extend property rights to female family members, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Jan. 11. The region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa previously followed strict religious laws, wherein daughters received half as much property as sons.
  • The gender gap related to the impact of divorce on men and women's income has shrunk, accordingly a fact sheet by the Pew Economic Mobility Project, reported Mother Jones Jan. 11. In the 1970s, 63 percent of women experienced income loss following a divorce, while only 30 percent of men did. By 2004, that gap closed significantly, with 49 percent of women and 47 percent of men experiencing income loss after the end of a marriage.
  • The Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest organization working on behalf of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth, announced this week that it has been awarded a two-year matching $500K Challenge Grant from the Calamus Foundation of New York. This grant will make possible the launch of the nation's first 24-hour drop-in services center for homeless LGBT youth, according a press release from the center.

Jeers

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Despite the fact that women perform as well as men when they run for office, a significant gender gap in political ambition persists, a report released by the Women and Politics Institute found. The report attributes the gap to factors such as the fact that women are less likely to believe they are qualified to run and women are less likely to receive a suggestion to run for office from either men or women. In 2012, less than a third of Senate races will include a female candidate.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The U.S. stated its opposition to new provisions in the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction that would allow courts to better respond to cases in which a parent and child travel internationally to escape domestic violence, according to a Jan. 12 press release from the Domestic Violence Empowerment and Appeals Project.
  • A Texas abortion law passed last year that requires doctors to show sonograms to patients can be enforced while opponents challenge the measure in court, a federal appeals court ruled Jan. 9, reported the Associated Press Jan. 10.
  • The Dr. Pepper/Snapple group is targeting its new drink, Dr. Pepper TEN, at a male-only market with slogans such as "It's not for women" and "No girls allowed." A spokesperson has refused to issue an apology, calling the ads "a humorous take on the many men who are worried about their waistlines but are too 'manly' to drink a diet soda."
  • Rick Santorum's views on contraception have been drawing scrutiny. The former Pennsylvania senator clarified his stance on birth control, Taylor-Hampton Wade Patch reported Jan. 8. He explained "I've never said I wanted to ban birth control," but that he is firmly against federal subsidies for medical care that provides contraception. "The Supreme Court in a variety of different cases, Roe v. Wade being the principal one most people know, has created rights in the Constitution that don't exist, and has no basis."

Noted:

  • Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has ordered the country's public health system and health insurance companies to pay for the replacement of ruptured breast implants made in France, even if they were done for aesthetic reasons, reported the Chicago Tribune Jan. 12. Rousseff, Brazil's first female president, reversed the government's previous stance. Meanwhile Dutch health authorities said on Jan. 11 that women who had breast implants made by the same French company, PIP, should have them removed because of the high risk of rupture, reversing an earlier recommendation, reported Reuters.
  • A suit contending that a lacrosse league's behavior violated the Title IX prohibition of sex discrimination in education, a law normally applied to address imbalances in high school and college athletics, was filed in Connecticut Superior Court in Stamford, The New York Times reported Jan. 12.
  • A watchdog group on Jan. 12 urged the Food and Drug Administration to hold a new vote about blood clot risks from popular birth control pills, after advisers to the agency were shown to have ties to the pillmakers, reported Reuters Jan. 12.
  • Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who is challenging Republican Scott Brown for the Senate seat in Massachusetts, raised $5.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, reported Politico Jan. 11. Incumbent Sen. Brown only raised $3.2 million, though he still has a total of $12.8 million on hand in comparison to Warren's $6 million.
  • A Facebook campaign that aims to convince Mattel to mass produce a bald Barbie doll for girls that suffer from hair loss is growing, Digital Journal reported Jan. 11.
  • The White House named Cecilia Munoz, currently the director of intergovernmental affairs, as director of the Domestic Policy Council, the Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 11. In her new position, she will oversee a range of domestic issues as well as continue to work on immigration policy.
  • A study, released by 4autoinsurancequote.org, indicates women are better drivers than men, reported PRWeb Jan. 11. The study claims that 80 percent of all car accidents that are either fatal or produce serious injuries are caused by male drivers.
  • The 15-year-old Afghan who was tortured by her husband and in-laws and hospitalized in December has spoken out for the first time since her ordeal, the Associated Press reported Jan. 7. "I want them to be in jail," said Sahar Gul. "They gave me electric shock . . .  They beat me with cables and tortured me."

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