Mozambique is on course to end its near complete ban on abortion, Agence France-Presse reported June 10. The news comes after a a recent report by the nation’s health ministry showed that roughly 100 women were dying every year from unsafe abortions and many more were suffering serious after-effects.

Lawmakers are expected to overturn the ban, which outlaws abortion except in cases where a woman’s health or life is in danger, after Parliament reconvenes in October, according to the AFP.

A former colony of Portugal, Mozambique first outlawed abortion in 1886 and reaffirmed the ban six years after the country gained independence in 1975. Worldwide, about 68,000 women die annually because of unsafe abortions, most in developing countries, according to the United Nations World Health Organization.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Female students at Bamyan University in Bamyan, Afghanistan, will soon have a dormitory of their own, the Bayat Foundation said in a press release. The cornerstone for the building was laid June 12. When construction is complete it will enable young Afghan women to forgo commutes and study, sleep and eat safely while attending the university.
  • British female millionaires will outnumber their male counterparts by 2020, London’s Daily Mail reported. In that year, 53 percent of the nation’s millionaires will be women, according to a June 11 survey by Barclays Wealth Management.
  • The Barbara Lee Family Foundation awarded Simmons College in Boston a $1.5 million endowment to encourage young women to pursue careers as politicians and policy makers. The grant will allow up to 20 female students a year to serve as interns for female state legislators or statewide elected officials in Massachusetts.
  • Cyril Ebie, a young Cameroonian who mounted a successful campaign to end the practice of female genital mutilation in his home village, won a competition hosted by the BBC honoring those who stand up for their rights, the BBC reported June 8. Ebie left his home with his younger sister for nine months to prevent her from undergoing female genital mutilation.
  • Philadelphia on June 8 declared itself a “pro-choice city,” the Associated Press reported. The city council narrowly passed a resolution declaring its support for women’s reproductive rights and freedom.
  • In U.S. horse racing, Rags to Riches on June 9 became the first filly in more than a century to win the Belmont Stakes, the prestigious annual race in Elmont, N.Y., that is the third leg of the Triple Crown, Reuters reported. The last time a filly beat the boys at the Belmont was when Tanya surged to victory in 1905.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses do not have to pay the federal minimum wage or overtime pay to home-care workers; the vast majority of whom are low-income women of color.

In Long Island Care at Home v. Coke, the high court voted unanimously to uphold a 1974 Department of Labor regulation that excludes workers who care for elderly or disabled people from federal wage and overtime protections.

The decision overturns a federal appellate court ruling in favor of Evelyn Coke, 73, a retired home attendant from Queens, N.Y., who sued her former employer for back pay.

The ruling follows a May ruling that restricted women’s ability to sue for gender-based pay discrimination and a decision in April restricting abortion rights.

“The court’s ruling is another blow to struggling, low-wage women,” said Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A United Nations target to halve maternal mortality from 2000 levels by 2015 will be missed unless more women in poor countries get access to safe blood transfusions, the World Health Organization warned, Reuters reported June 14. On World Blood Donor Day, the U.N. agency called for more blood donations, better tests of donated blood, and closer monitoring of severe bleeding risks during and after childbirth. Some 99 percent of the 500,000 women who die in pregnancy, childbirth or immediately after birth each year are in the developing world, the agency said. As many as 28 percent of countries cannot test all donated blood for one or more of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and syphillis, according to a WHO study 172 nations worldwide.
  • A Vatican cardinal on June 13 warned Roman Catholics against contributing to Amnesty International after the human rights organization reversed its longstanding neutrality on the issue of abortion and adopted a policy urging governments to ensure access to abortion services in the case of rape, incest, or when the life or health of the woman is in danger, the A.P. reported. Cardinal Renato Martino said the policy represented a betrayal of the group’s commitment to human rights.
  • The Kuwaiti Parliament has banned women from working at night, Gulf News reported on June 11. Under the new law, women outside of the medical profession are no longer allowed to work between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. The government also barred women from working in jobs that “break public morals and in all-men service places at any time.”
  • Two girls were fatally shot June 12 outside their school just south of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, AFP reported. The gender-based violence came two weeks after two female journalists were killed in the same area, prompting government authorities to call for heightened protections for women and girls at schools and in their workplaces.
  • In the last 30 years, U.S. women have seen their incomes rise more than 60 percent, yet they still lag far behind men when it comes to turning those dollars into political contributions, according to a June 11 report by the Women’s Campaign Forum Foundation in Washington, D.C. Less than one-third of donations to candidates, political parties and political action committees come from women, according to the center.
  • Middle East scholar Dr. Haleh Esfandiari remains imprisoned in Iran despite campaigns for her release by the Initiative for Inclusive Security in Cambridge, Mass., and other organizations. Esfandiari was attacked by three armed men on Dec. 30, 2006, while visiting her 93-year-old mother in Tehran and put under house arrest until May 8, when she was taken to prison by Iranian intelligence agents.
  • One in 4 women at risk of unplanned pregnancy do not use birth control in a consistent manner or do not use it at all, according to a study released June 13 by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice think tank in New York. Fifteen percent of at-risk women said they had a gap in contraceptive use for one or more months, and 8 percent said they did not use any method at all.

Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief.

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