Note: Women’s eNews is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites and the contents of Web pages we link to may change without notice.
Reproductive rights advocates continue to criticize a July 15 Bush administration proposal to redefine contraception as a form of abortion. The proposal allows medical providers to refuse to provide birth control services and referrals when it clashes with their private religious beliefs against abortion.
Advocates this week warned that the federal proposal could supercede state laws that require hospitals and clinics to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.
“Women would be totally subject to the luck of the draw when they went to get reproductive health care,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the Washington Post.
Abortion services continue to become more difficult to obtain, and 87 percent of counties in the United States have no abortion provider. In Western states–where women may travel up to 300 miles to reach a facility–abortion is going to become increasingly inaccessible as doctors retire and aren’t replaced, Planet Jackson Hole reported July 30. Wyoming has one abortion provider, who works at a clinic bombed by protesters in 1995. South Dakota has one clinic for abortion services and a doctor is flown in for a few hours a week to provide the care. In Idaho, three doctors have performed abortions in recent years; one retired last year and a second will this December.
More news to jeer this week:
- During the tenure of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the Department of Justice used alleged homosexuality as a litmus test to hire and fire employees, according to a July 29 story in the Los Angeles Times. Margaret Chiara, one of nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006, said she believes she was dismissed because of false rumors that she was a lesbian.
- In a 16-month study of workers in Singapore, half said they had been sexually harassed on the job, the Straits Times reported July 10. Eleven percent of respondents had been told they could lose their jobs or miss promotions if they didn’t grant sexual favors; 70 percent said they were not aware their companies had policies to protect them.
- South Korea’s Constitutional Court has overturned a 21-year-old law prohibiting doctors from revealing the sex of fetuses, the AP reported July 31. The law was passed in 1987 to help prevent sex-selective abortions. The court ruled the ban too restrictive and said Korea had “grown out of its preference for sons,” noting that the nation was nearing the natural gender ratio of 106 boys for every 100 girls.
- The sexual abuse trial of Virginia Mokgobo, 28, who worked at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy near Johannesburg, South Africa, has begun, the BBC reported July 29. Winfrey spent $40 million to open the girls’ school in 2007 and praised the students who came forward to report alleged abuse by Mokgobo.
Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief for Women’s eNews and Jennifer Thurston is associate editor.
Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at