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DNC Parades Female Speakers; CNN Tweet Mocks Them

Friday, September 7, 2012



Cecile Richards
President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards

Credit: Jared Soares for PBS NewsHour. PBS NewsHour on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).

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Cheers

A long list of high-profile women spoke on behalf of reproductive rights and women's rights in general at the Democratic National Convention this week in Charlotte, N.C. The lineup included Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America; Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Sandra Fluke, law school student pushed into the national spotlight after Rush Limbaugh criticized her testimony on Capitol Hill regarding contraception; Lilly Ledbetter, a retiree whose failed discrimination lawsuit inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; and female members of the House of Representatives. Michelle Obama also gave a widely praised speech on behalf of her husband, in which she also remarked that the president "believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care."

More News to Cheer This Week:

Proposed rules by the European Union's justice commissioner, who has said that self-regulation is proving useless, would penalize companies that fail to have at least 40 percent of women on their boards, reported the New York Times Sept. 3.

While France's Cannes Film Festival was criticized earlier this year for its lack of female directors -- none of the 22 nominated directors for the prestigious Palme d'Or were women -- the Toronto Film Festival saw a 20 percent increase in the number of female directors, according to the Huffington Post Sept. 6.

Though gay rights advocates struggled to spark a discussion of same-sex marriage at the Democratic convention in 2008, the issue is receiving open support this year, reported many news media outlets.

Quebec separatist party leader Pauline Marois became the Canadian province's first female premier, reported Reuters Sept. 4.

State lawmakers and women's health activists made their voices heard to the Texas Department of State Health Services over the status of the hotly debated Women's Health Program, reported the Star-Telegram Sept. 4.

A federal judge, reportedly for the first time ever, has ordered that an inmate at a Massachusetts prison receive sex-reassignment surgery because it is the only available option for treating her medical needs, reported the Associated Press Sept. 4. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., on Sept. 4 called the surgery" an outrageous abuse of taxpayer dollars."

Jeers

A conservative CNN commentator sparked controversy with a tweet calling the Democratic National Convention "the Vagina Monologues," reported the Huffington Post Sept. 5. Erick Erickson soon tweeted an apology, but some are calling for CNN to fire him. A Change.org petition called "Fire Erick Erickson" has over 600 supporters. Over 70,000 people have signed a similar online petition created by the group UltraViolet.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Sexual misconduct and abuse of inmates at Kansas' prison for women is "rampant throughout the facility" and persisted even as federal officials investigated problems at the facility, according to a U.S. Justice Department report released Sept. 6, reported the Associated Press.

A provision in a Filipino reproductive health bill that would have protected women suffering from abortion complications has been eliminated, reported the Inquirer News Sept. 7. Another section adding certain contraceptive drugs and products to a government list of essential medicines was also scrapped.

One of Germany's top women's magazines, Brigitte, said Sept. 3 it was reviewing its policy of only publishing photographs of amateur models instead of professionals, reported AFP Sept. 4. The magazine made international headlines in October 2009 with the news that it would only print pictures of "real women" after readers complained they could not identify with ultra-thin professional models.

Employment in the child care industry, in which 9-in-10 workers are women, hit a five-year low in August with 829,600 jobs, reported Bloomberg Sept. 6. Payrolls rose slightly to 833,300 in September.

Noted

A pair of recently-released ads depict President Obama as a boyfriend that women need to dump. One produced by the Republican National Committee, called "The Breakup," shows a woman telling a cardboard cutout of Obama, "It's been four years. You've changed." Another, called "Boyfriend," was produced by Independent Women's Voice and features a conversation between two women.

A 26-year-old woman in Turkey, impregnated by her rapist, reportedly shot and beheaded him, renewing a debate over abortion rights in the country, reported the Huffington Post Sept. 6. The male victim allegedly raped the shooter over the course of many months and threatened to kill her children if she told anyone about the crimes. She attempted to have an abortion when she was 14 weeks pregnant, but the law bars the procedure after 10 weeks.

A doctor in Kansas who lost her license after giving referrals for late-term abortions has filed a court challenge, reported the Associated Press Sept. 6. The State Board of Healing Arts claims that Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus did not perform mental exams on 11 patients she referred to Dr. George Tiller.

Women and men literally see the world differently, according to a study by CUNY researchers in New York City, reported LiveScience Sept. 5. While women were more able to distinguish between different color hues, men were more adept at perceiving rapidly changing images.

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