In a dramatic break from standard practice, new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force called for the end of the annual Pap test. Instead, the task force recommended that women who are 21 to 29 years old have the test for cervical cancer once every three years, reported ABC News March 15. Females under the age of 21 do not need the test at all, regardless of sexual history and healthy women between the ages of 30 and 65 need a test only every five years if they combine it with a test for human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can develop into cervical cancer. The guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are in sync with those of the American Cancer Society and the American Society of Clinical Pathology.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Argentina's Supreme Court has upheld a ruling that will decriminalize abortions in cases of rape, reported CNN March 14. Before the ruling, contradictory interpretations of the law sometimes said that only women who were "mentally challenged or demented" could have an abortion.
- Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby announced a joint initiative to provide $4.65 million in small grants to grassroots organizations to address gender-based violence around the world, according to a press release March 14.
- Moroccan activists have stepped up pressure to scrap laws that allow rapists to marry their victims -- after a 16-year-old rape victim committed suicide, reported the BBC March 15.
- In an op-ed posted by CNN.com, Sandra Fluke again pushed back against radio personality Rush Limbaugh, stating that the conservative radio host's "attempts to silence women" have clearly failed.
- Hillary Clinton criticized "extremists" who battle women's rights in the United States and beyond in a speech at the Women of the World Summit in New York City, The Blaze reported March 12.
- Hundreds of people marched around the Georgia Capitol protesting two pieces of legislation that threaten women's health, reported the AP March 12.
- Sen. Barbara Mikulski is about to make history by becoming the longest-serving woman in Congress, Roll Call reported March 12.
- A public service campaign hopes to cause a sensation by launching a "Sluts Unite" website and social media drive to promote "healthy nookie" while mocking Rush Limbaugh's infamous "slut" insult of law student Sandra Fluke, The Huffington Post reported March 12.
- Chinese police rescued more than 24,000 abducted women and children in 2011, according to a report by the Public Security Ministry, BBC News reported March 11.
The Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation, now faces fierce opposition from conservatives, reported the New York Times March 15. A fight has emerged primarily over changes to the bill that would, for instance, cover same-sex couples in domestic violence programs, expand services to other underserved groups such as American Indians and rural populations, and allow undocumented immigrants experiencing domestic abuse to obtain temporary visas. Some Republicans have accused Democrats of including provisions they knew conservatives wouldn't support to damage the conservative party's image, while Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women."