Cheers and Jeers

Saudi Lashing Dropped; Global Gag's Impacts Shown

Friday, September 30, 2011

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Analysis published Sept. 29 by the World Health Organization Bulletin reveals that abortion rates in Africa rose during the period of the global gag rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. The policy prohibited U.S. aid from funding any group involved in abortion-related work.

"This evidence confirms what we have seen on the ground in the countries where we work," said Latanya Mapp Frett, vice president of Global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a Sept. 29 press release. "Restricting access to providers of comprehensive reproductive health services does not reduce the need for abortion.  It drives poor women to risk death and injury by seeking unsafe abortion care from unskilled providers.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • African women still face legal and regulatory hurdles to participate fully in the economy, All reported Sept. 28, citing a report by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
  • On Sept. 29 the U.S. House of Representatives and several other agencies released their version of a FY 2012 appropriations bill. In it, funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant is proposed to be reduced by $1.8 million, according to a press release from The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs. The bill also proposes to eliminate Title X Family Planning grants ($337 million).
  • A federal judge has refused to block enforcement of a new Kansas law restricting insurance coverage for abortions, reported The Kansas City Star Sept. 29. The law prohibits insurance companies from offering abortion coverage as part of their general health plans, except when a woman's life is at risk.
  • In Mexico, abortion opponents celebrated a victory on Sept. 27 when the Supreme Court narrowly upheld a provision of Baja California's state constitution saying life begins at conception, reported the Los Angeles Times Sept. 28.
  • In a letter addressed to SlutWalk organizers, the founder of Black Women's Blueprint and other black women raised the concern of finding "no space in SlutWalk, no space for participation and to unequivocally denounce rape and sexual assault as we have experienced it."


  • American Banker has announced its 2011 ranking of the Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance, Market Watch reported Sept. 26. This year, BNY Mellon Vice Chairman Karen Peetz has been named the "Most Powerful Woman in Banking" by the magazine.
  • Australia's female soldiers will soon be able to serve in all frontline combat roles, The New York Times reported Sept. 27. The move will make Australia one of a handful of countries that allow female soldiers to serve alongside their male counterparts in some of the most dangerous roles in modern warfare.
  • On Sept. 30 an NYPD officer told women in a Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood not to wear short skirts or shorts to avoid being victimized by a serial sexual assaulter who has been attacking women in the area since March, reported Feministing Sept. 30.  This will likely add fuel to the fire at today's (Saturday) NYC Slutwalk, Feministing says.  Look out of photos from today's event from Women's eNews correspondents.
  • In an interview with Women's eNews on Sept. 24 at the Wall Street encampment in the New York financial district, Christina Gonzalez described being arrested and bullied by police officers when she tried to film the violent arrest of another protester. Earlier that day New York City Police's macing of young women was captured in this widely circulated YouTube video. The police and Manhattan prosecutors are separately examining the macing incident, reported The New York Times Sept. 29.
  • In France, several organization launched campaigns to do away with the word "mademoiselle," which they see as separating women into two categories — married and unmarried — in a manner men aren't subjected to, reported NPR Sept. 29.
  • In Islamabad, Pakistan, speakers at an interactive session on Sept. 27 stressed the need to educate the youth on reproductive health education, to help them better understand themselves both physically and mentally, reported The Express Tribune on Sept. 29.
  • Swiss lawmakers are considering a ban on wearing face-covering veils in some public situations, The Washington Post reported Sept. 28.
  • Pakistani actress Veena Malik made TV history when she retaliated after a Muslim cleric criticized her behavior on an Indian reality TV program, Radio Free reported Sept. 27.
  • Northern Ireland's health minister said that women who choose to have a Caesarean section for non-medical reasons may have to pay for the operation, BBC News reported Sept. 28.


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In Memoriam:

Kenya's Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai died on Sept. 25 in Nairobi while undergoing cancer treatment, BBC News reported Sept. 26. She was 71. Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for promoting conservation, women's rights and transparent. government - the first African woman to get the award. She was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2002 and served as a minister in the Kenyan government for a time. Maathai was named a Women's eNews 21 Leader for the 21st Century in 2005.

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