CheersUnintended pregnancies and abortions are declining in the developed and developing world as global contraceptive use increases, according to a report released by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute Oct. 13.

Unintended pregnancies fell to 55 per 1,000 women globally in 2008 from 69 per 1,000 women in 1995. The number of abortions performed worldwide dropped in 2003 to 41.6 million from 45.5 million in 1995. Forty percent of women live in regions with very restrictive abortion laws, particularly in the developing world. Unsafe, illegal abortions cause an estimated 70,000 deaths per year, the institute reported.

An additional 5 million women are treated annually for complications from unsafe abortions and approximately 3 million go untreated.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Elinor Ostrom, a political scientist from Indiana University, made history when she became the first woman to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Ostrom said that while pursing her Ph.D. in the mid-1960s she was told she wouldn’t be hired by any major university because she was a woman, CNN Money reported Oct. 12. Ostrom shares the $1.4 million prize with Oliver E. Williamson, from the University of California, Berkley. The two received the prize for their research on the impact of companies and individuals on market behavior.
  • A nationwide survey released Oct. 15 showed that three-quarters of 3,413 surveyed women and men believe the increasing role of women in the workplace is positive for American society and the economy, MSNBC reported. The poll, which was included in "The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything," looks at the status of women and was conducted by Maria Shriver and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress. It also found that 56 percent of the women and 45 percent of the men surveyed believed that mothers can be as productive as those without children.


JeersAfter a three-week trial, New York State Sen. Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat, was found guilty of a misdemeanor on Oct. 15 for assaulting his companion, Karla Giraldo, in December 2008. The judge presiding over the case said he believed that there was reasonable doubt that Monserrate intended to injure Giraldo when he cut her face with a glass.

Monserrate, a linchpin in the battle for Democratic control of the state Senate, was caught on camera dragging Giraldo in an apartment lobby while she clutched a towel covering her bloody face. Monserrate was acquitted of two counts of felony assault and found guilty of a misdemeanor assault. The felony conviction would have resulted in automatic removal from the Senate and up to seven years in prison. With his current conviction and as a first-time offender, he may never spend time behind bars.

State Sen. Liz Krueger, the Democrat who headed the party’s successful effort to regain a one-vote margin of control of the state Senate, issued a statement that called for Monserrate’s immediate resignation.

"The justice system has determined that Mr. Monserrate has violated our laws and is guilty of a very disturbing and violent crime against a woman. Domestic violence is a scourge on our society and an issue which I believe requires us to speak out. Only through speaking out can we work to prevent more violence, support survivors, end the stigma and fear that victims deal with and advocate for stronger penalties for those who believe they are above the law and violate another human being" the statement said.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • After a six-year dispute, data related to late-term abortions carried out because of disability will become public in England and Wales, the BBC reported Oct. 15. The ruling was issued by the Information Commissioner, the nation’s independent public body set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information. The government has been asked to release the data within the next month.
  • Police in Mwanza, Malawi, arrested 14 female prostitutes and, according to human rights organizations, forcefully subjected them to HIV tests and charged them with "deliberately trading in sex while having a sexually transmitted disease," IPS reported Oct. 10. Police said it was part of a routine search, but human rights groups say that women’s constitutional rights were violated. The women were fined $8 each.
  • Ling Xu, the leader of a Johnson County, Kan., prostitution ring, will spend eight years and two months in prison and pay $500,000 in fines, The Kansas City Star reported Oct. 14. The China-born Xu was charged for luring Asian women into prostitution in her massage parlors. Women were compelled to work in the parlors for up to 14 hours a day while under surveillance and many had their identities stolen to prevent their escape. Xu’s sentence was heavier than the one received by her son and boyfriend, also involved in the prostitution ring. Her son, Cheng Tang, and boyfriend, Zhong Yan Liu, were sentenced to five years in prison Oct. 13. Xu will be deported after she serves her time.
  • Women are more visible in South Asian media organizations, but few have prominent decision-making roles, Bhutan’s Kuensel reported Oct. 13. The issue was raised during a two-day meeting of South Asian networking and awareness association for women in the media, in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • The United Nations says an executive order in the Philippines that bans contraceptives in public heath facilities is discriminatory and violates women’s rights, ABS-CBN reported Oct. 13. Poor women are disproportionately affected by this measure because they lack the resources to seek private doctors.


Sixty percent of Catholics are in favor of private or government health insurance coverage for abortions, diverging from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s opposition to all abortion funding, a poll conducted by Catholic for Choice found. The group announced its findings in a press release Oct. 13. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed believe the bishops should not take a stance on healthcare reform, the group said.

In Memoriam:

Nan Robertson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, passed away Oct. 13 in a nursing home near Washington, D.C. She was 83. Robertson, a long-time reporter for The New York Times, won her Pulitzer in 1983 for an account of her brush with death from toxic shock syndrome. Published as the cover story in the New York Times magazine, it was credited with saving many lives. Robertson later wrote a history of Alcoholics Anonymous and chronicled her own battle with alcoholism in the book ‘Getting Better.’ Her second book was ‘Girls in the Balcony, Women, Men and The New York Times,’ published in 1992, detailed a 1970s class action that charged the paper with sex discrimination. When the suit was settled in 1978, the documents were sealed by the federal judge at the request of the Times. Robertson’s book provided a record of the suit, as well as the difficulty female employees faced at the paper.

Kimberly St. Louis is an editorial intern at Women’s eNews through the New York Arts Program. She is a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University studying journalism and politics and government.

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