Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, based in Denver, began to hand out emergency contraception pills for free at their 24 clinics around Colorado on Friday, spokesperson Kate Horle told Women’s eNews. The clinics prescribed and distributed the pills for free to protest Colorado’s governor, Bill Owens. This past April, Owens vetoed a bill that would have allowed pharmacists to distribute emergency contraception over the counter; currently, only physicians can prescribe it. Last year, he vetoed a bill that would have required hospitals to notify rape victims of the emergency contraception option.
“We decided shortly after the veto that we’d do the campaign today,” Horle says. “If it had passed, the bill would have gone into effect July 1st.”
Emergency contraception must be taken within 72 hours of a woman having unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy and has a shelf life of three years. Those who advocate for over-the-counter status say that status will make it easier for women to obtain the drug during the time when it’s effective, but it’s opposed by anti-choice groups who claim it stops a fertilized egg from implanting itself in a woman’s uterus, which they consider an abortion.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Thousands of Kuwaiti women, standing in segregated voting stations, cast their vote for the first time in the Gulf Arab country’s national parliamentary election, Reuters reported June 29. Kuwait granted them the right to vote a year ago. No female out of the 28 candidates won election. Women make up about 57 percent of eligible voters.
- An advisory committee that makes recommendations on immunizations for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all 11 and 12-year-old girls in the U.S. receive the new vaccine that targets the deadliest strains of human papilloma virus, reported the Chicago Sun-Times June 30. The virus causes about 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases. The recommendations also urge that all women up to age 26 receive the vaccine, approved for use three weeks ago. Each HPV-vaccine series costs about $360, far above other required childhood vaccines that range from $1 to $80.
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“Vaccine Holds Special Promise for Women of Color”:
Six female financial advisers filed a gender-discrimination class-action against New York-based investment giant Morgan Stanley on June 22 in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Mara Thompson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told Women’s eNews.
The plaintiffs, who worked as Morgan Stanley financial advisers, claim they were denied promotions, equal pay and fair treatment because of their gender. A spokesperson with Morgan Stanley declined to say how many of the company’s 8,200 financial advisers are women. In 2004, women accounted for roughly 2,100 of the 11,100 sales workers, according to data on the Morgan Stanley Web site. Additionally, about 3,200 women were officials and managers of the company, while men numbered more than 9,200.
In July 2004, women representing the equities division of the firm were awarded $54 million in a similar gender discrimination suit against Morgan Stanley. As many as 340 women as investment bankers from 1995 to 2004 could claim some of the settlement; $2 million went toward programs to support women at the company. That case only involved female investment bankers, not financial advisers, Thompson said. The new case involves a separate division of the company.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first elected female president of the Oglala Sioux, was impeached Thursday in a 9-to-4 tribal council vote and with 5 of the 18 council members absent. At the hearing, where many dress in tribal clothes and speak in Lakota, anti-choice activists passed out rosaries and pictures of Jesus to those in attendance, Indian Country Today reported.
- U.S. women abused by their intimate partners are less likely to carry a child to birth. And, they are less likely to give birth to a healthy baby than non-abused women, according to the nation’s first large-scale study on the effects of intimate partner violence on a pregnant woman and her child, researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health announced June 28.
The study–which analyzed medical files of more than 118,000 pregnant women, between 2000 and 2003–found grim trends. Of these women, about 6 percent delivering live babies reported physical abuse during their pregnancies or the year before they became pregnant. Abused women are 37 percent more likely to have a premature baby. They are 40 to 60 percent more likely than non-abused women to have high blood pressure, vaginal bleeding, severe nausea, kidney or unitary tract infections and hospitalizations during pregnancy. Children of the abused woman are 30 percent more likely to need intensive care upon birth.
Fire Thunder ran into trouble in recent months as she announced her work to open a clinic where abortions and other reproductive health care would be offered on the Pine Ridge Reservation. A 59-year-old nurse, she has been outspoken against South Dakota’s sweeping abortion ban, which will appear on the November ballot. Donations from around the country came in to support the clinic, which angered some council members. Fire Thunder said during the hearing that nearly $15,000 sent by donors for the clinic would be returned, adding that she did not solicit the donations. After the vote, she said the council violated the tribe’s constitution repeatedly during the impeachment process. She plans to fight the decision and seek elected office again.
Denise Denton, 46, an electrical engineer and chancellor of the University of California-Santa Cruz, fell from her San Francisco apartment June 24, in what appeared to be a suicide, The New York Times reported six days later. Her peers lauded Denton for courageously representing women, people of color, and gays and lesbians. In the 1990s, Denton became the first female engineering dean at the University of Washington. In 2005, Denton publicly attacked Harvard University president Lawrence Summers after he implied that men make better scientists than women. Later, Denton was accused of overspending for her university home renovation and hiring her partner for a high-ranking position.
–Kara Briggs, senior fellow of American Indian Policy and Media Initiative at Buffalo State College, contributed to this report.
Malena Amusa is an intern for Women’s eNews. She is from St. Louis, Mo.
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