Newly-inaugurated Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko appointed top ally Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister Monday. Parliament will consider ratifying the appointment as early as next week
Tymoshenko, a strong supporter of Yushchenko, was a driving force behind a wave of opposition protests dubbed the “Orange Revolution” that paved the way for his eventual victory over outgoing prime minister Viktor Yanukovich.
The outspoken Tymoshenko is disliked by business and the political elite in eastern regions, factions that supported Yanukovich in the presidential elections. The firebrand opposition leader, however, has been hailed by women’s rights groups as a powerful model of an outspoken woman in a country that still clings to old-fashioned stereotypes about women.
In addition, Yushchenko is one of a small number of female politicians in Ukraine. As Women’s eNews recently reported, no women are among 16 government ministers of Ukraine and only two women serve at the deputy-minister level.
Tymoshenko told the press last week that she wants to restart Ukraine’s efforts to become a member state of the European Union, but that Kiev should not go into the process “half-ready.” She also pledged to review murky privatization deals that allowed rich coal and steel magnates from the east to accumulate wealth in the years following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Three more reasons to Cheer this week:
–The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider whether states may offer license plates with anti-abortion messages, leaving the decision to the lower courts in the 12 states that initiated this program. A South Carolina court had ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Planned Parenthood of South Carolina, finding the state’s “ChooseLife” plates to be a violation of First Amendment rights because abortion-rights supporters weren’t given a similar forum. South Carolina’s 2001 state law offered the plates for the biennial fee of $70.
–During the month of January, Wheat Chex and Multi-Bran Chex cereals will be featuring cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg on millions of boxes. Goldberg is chief of women’s cardiac care at Lenox Hill Hospital, a board member of the American Heart Association’s New York chapter and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine. Other notable figures who have appeared on General Mills’ cereal boxes include Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Lance Armstrong. General Mills spokespersons said the company chose her after hearing her speak on heart health.
— Members of Congress are calling for renewed U.S. support for the United Nations Population Fund to aid victims of the tsunami. Since July 2002, the Bush administration has stopped each year $34 million of congressionally approved money for U.N. agency. A letter sent to newly confirmed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice by seven members of Congress says that more than 150,000 women are pregnant in the tsunami-hit areas and “the release of the $34 million appropriated to the UNFPA for FY2005 would have an immediate, life saving impact on these women and their children.”
Just a few weeks after the announcement that conservative commentator Armstrong Williams had accepted $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote their education agenda, it was revealed that syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher engaged in similarly unethical behavior–but for much less money.
Gallagher had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote President Bush’s push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families, according to The Washington Post. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the Health and Human Services official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials.
Gallagher received an additional $20,000 from the Bush administration in 2002 and 2003 for writing a report, titled “Can Government Strengthen Marriage?” for a private organization called the National Fatherhood Initiative. That report, published last year, was funded by a Justice Department grant.
“Did I violate journalistic ethics by not disclosing it?” Gallagher told The Washington Post Tuesday. “I don’t know. You tell me.” She said she would have “been happy to tell anyone who called me” about the contract but that “frankly, it never occurred to me” to disclose it.
Later in the day, Gallagher filed a column in which she said that “I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers.”
Universal Press Syndicate has told the press that it has no intention of dropping Gallagher’s columns.
Another reason to Jeer:
— Sen. Sam Brownback, a Republican from Kansas, introduced the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act in Congress on Wednesday. Brownback’s Web site says the law would require those who perform abortions to notify patients that “the unborn child feels pain” during the abortion. Whether fetuses feel pain has been a subject of medical and political controversy for over 20 years. This statement about fetal pain would be required to be made by the abortion provider to the patient and also be included in a brochure–developed by the Department of Health and Human Services–that goes into greater detail. The bill would also require that the woman, if she chooses to continue with the abortion procedure after being told about the existence of fetal pain, has the option of choosing anesthesia for the fetus. The bill has gained the support of 32 co-signers.
Corrie Pikul is a correspondent for Women’s eNews.
Ukraine’s Top Dissident Raises a Rare Female Voice:
‘Fetal Pain’ Bill New Item on Anti-Choice Agenda: