Cheers and Jeers

Seattle Pol Cuts Pay; House OKs New Abortion Bill

Saturday, February 1, 2014

An elected official in Seattle decided to give most of her paycheck away to activist organizations. Also this week, the Republican House passed more restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions.

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Kshama Sawant
A poster for Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant.

Credit: _paparatti on Flick, under Creative Commons

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

Seattle's only Socialist City Council member, Kshama Sawant, announced that she will make good on a campaign pledge and accept only $40,000 a year in salary -- bringing her down to the average wage of a worker in the city, reported . The remainder of the roughly $117,000 salary will go to social justice causes such as strike funds, civil rights and women's rights, she said in a statement.

More News to Cheer This Week:

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama underscored the important role women play both in his domestic agenda and his party's hopes for this year's midterm elections, reported. Obama called for an end to the wage gap between men and women. He also highlighted the struggles working moms face providing for their families. Read more in the Women's eNews story "."

The son of a Florida fertility doctor was sentenced to nearly 14 years in federal prison for duping his pregnant girlfriend into taking medication that caused her to abort her 6-week-old fetus, reported .

A deal to allow women and children trapped in Homs, a Syrian city under government siege, was reached during the peace talks in Geneva on Jan. 26, the reported.

Women of the Wall was reported to be on the verge of finalizing an agreement with the Israeli government to move its monthly prayer service from the women's section at the Western Wall to a new egalitarian space under construction nearby, according to the .

Planned Parenthood in Alaskais suing the state health commissioner over new regulations that prevent state Medicaid from covering elective abortions, the reported . The new regulations, set to go into effect on Feb. 2, require abortion doctors who receive Medicaid payments to certify that a procedure is "medically necessary" to prevent serious risk to the woman's health, or that the patient is a victim of rape and incest.

Jeers

The House of Representatives passed a bundle of abortion restrictions on Jan. 28 that would dramatically reduce the number of health insurance plans that cover the procedure, the reported. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7) would prohibit insurance plans sold in the new health care exchanges from covering abortion, and it would eliminate tax benefits for small businesses that purchase insurance plans covering abortion. The bill would also prevent the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to subsidize abortion care for low-income women.

President Barack Obama vowed to veto the controversial anti-abortion bill if it ever made it to his desk, the reported .

Meanwhile, on the state level, Arizona moved to implement new abortion rules limiting the use of the most common abortion-inducing drug and requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, the reported . The rules require that the most common abortion-inducing drug be administered only at the FDA-approved dosage no later than seven weeks into a pregnancy, and that both doses be taken at the clinic.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Female movie stars make the most money per film when they are 34 years old, but their earnings quickly decline after that age, according to a study published this week in the , reported . Male movie stars peak in their earnings per film at age 51, and their compensation steadily increases over time.

An published on XO Jane on discusses a white woman's discomfort and revelations after "a young, fairly heavy black woman" came to her yoga class

. The essay has sparked outrage, particularly among women of color, who call the story racist, discriminatory against larger women and contributing to the lack of diversity in yoga. Read more in the Women's eNews story ""

Almost 1-in-5 young girls in sub-Saharan Africa are still forced to endure the ritual of female genital mutilation, according to a U.N. report. The document says that problems such as violence, child marriage and the FGM ritual are widespread across some of the world's poorest countries, the reported .

A Kentucky Republican lawmaker, Joe Fisher, claimed that abortions are a form of domestic violence because they cause pain to the fetus, the reported . "The most brutal form of domestic violence is the violence against unborn children," Fisher said.

Women are often in the dark when it comes to basic facts about sex, fertility, pregnancy and their own reproductive health, according to a U.S. study released Jan. 27, reported. For instance, just 1-in-10 women knew that sex was required before ovulation, not after, in order to optimize the chances of pregnancy. The study was done at Yale University via an online survey of 1,000 women ages 18 to 40 from across the United States.

Sen. Rand Paul said Jan. 26 that the "women are winning" what Democrats have called the "war on women" because of the gains made by women, for example, in the law and medical schools. Paul also argued the message comes from the party of former President Bill Clinton, whose reputation is still tarnished from his "predatory behavior" in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, reported.

Another woman who could have told about the horrors of being a "comfort woman" -- a sex slave used by Japanese soldiers during World War II – passed away, reported . Hwang Keum-ja, 89, died of lung and respiratory disease at a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, on Jan. 26. Against this backdrop, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government distanced itself from comments by the new president of Japan's public broadcaster NHK that appeared to defend Japan's use of sex slaves before and during World War II, reported.

Noted:

A Fort Worth hospital that kept a pregnant, brain-dead woman on life support for two months--to keep the fetus alive--followed a judge's order and removed her from the machines on Jan. 25, the reported. Marlise Munoz was being kept on a respirator under the hospital's interpretation of a Texas anti-abortion law.

An Italian appeals court convicted former exchange student Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito on murder charges, reported . Prosecutors said the couple killed Meredith Kercher in 2007. It is unlikely Knox, who is living at home in Seattle, will return to Italy to serve additional prison time because U.S. law dictates that a person cannot be tried twice on the same charge, a legal expert told CNN.

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