By WeNews Staff
Saturday, February 3, 2007
Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who authored the nation's Family and Medical Leave Act 14 years ago, said this week he will introduce a new bill to include up to six weeks' paid leave for workers who take time off from their jobs to care for sick family members, newborns or new adopted children.
The current law allows parents to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave from their jobs. The United States, Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea are the only nations that offer no national maternity leave program, according to ABC News.
"The U.S. does not do nearly enough to ensure that our workers aren't forced to choose between their family and their job," said Dodd. "Now more than ever, millions of workers need to be able to take care of their young children and aging parents. No worker should be penalized for caring for their family."
Dodd, a Democrat, said his bill will also expand the number of people who are qualified to take leave. The program would run on a "shared-cost" mechanism, involving the employee, the employer and the federal government.
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South Dakota's state House of Representatives voted this week to approve a new abortion ban, allowing the procedure only in cases of rape and incest, and only if the crime was reported within 50 days and victims are willing to submit DNA evidence, the Associated Press reported Jan. 31.
In November, the state's voters defeated a similar ban--which allowed only an exception to save a woman's life--but polls indicated that the abortion ban would have been approved if it had allowed exceptions for rape and incest.
Although legislators have broadened the bill's terms, it carries a tougher maximum penalty than the last year's measure. Violators will now face 10 years in prison instead of five.
"While the findings are unexpected and disappointing, we will learn scientifically important information from this trial that will inform future HIV prevention research," principal investigator Dr. Lut Van Damme said in a press statement from CONRAD, the Arlington, Va., research group conducting the trials.
The Canadian town council of Herouxville, Quebec, issued a declaration that forbids new immigrants from murdering women, Reuters reported Jan. 31. Published on the town's Web site, the declaration cautions new arrivals to abstain from "killing women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, (and) circumcising them," among other warnings. The declaration drew criticism from townspeople and other Canadians who say that it thrives on false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam.
Molly Ivins, a best-selling author and Texan writer known for her humor and outrageous wit, died this week of breast cancer at her home in Austin. She was 62.
"She was the human campfire we'd gather around," Rusty Todd, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, told the AP. "There's a bunch of us real sad."
A darling of liberals, Ivins wrote a political column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for nine years, until 2001, and wrote for the Minneapolis Tribune, New York Times, Dallas Times-Herald and Time during her nearly 40 years as a journalist. Ivins was a strong advocate for women's rights and never held back her opinions on any topic. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, she wrote to her readers: "I don't need get-well cards, but I would like the beloved women readers to do something for me: Go. Get. The. Damn. Mammogram. Done."
Toyin Adeyemi is editorial intern at Women's eNews; Nouhad Moawad oversees the Arabic site; Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief.
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By Allison Stevens
Washington Bureau Chief