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It took 37 minutes for a Wichita, Kan., jury to find Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder on Jan. 29 for killing Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Influenced by Christian televangelist Pat Robertson, Roeder admitted he felt his actions were justified by his religious beliefs.

Tiller was one of few doctors in the United States who performed late-term abortions.

Roeder now faces life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

More News to Cheer This Week:


  • In his Jan. 27 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama maintained he would not back away from health care reform and made several explicit promises that address the concerns of female voters. These included:


    • Creation of more loans through community banks for small business owners, many of whom are women;


    • A freeze on discretionary spending;


    • "Earmark Reform" challenging Congress members to make public where funds from private bills are going;


    • Increased support for community colleges where the majority of the student population is female, as well as an increase in federal aid for higher education;


    • An increase of the child care tax credit;


    • A repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians and those affected by the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy;


    • Increased enforcement of equal pay laws;


    • Fixing the "broken immigration system."


  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Jan. 28 a Women’s Action Plan that will focus on women’s security and leadership in the public and private sector in Afghanistan. Clinton described the plan as "comprehensive, forward-looking agenda that stands in stark contrast to al-Qaida’s recently announced agenda for Afghanistan’s women," becoming female suicide bombers in the West, reported Ms. Magazine.


  • Legislation proposed last summer by the Nepali government to pay couples for remarriage when the wife is a widow has been prohibited by the nation’s Supreme Court in a "Stay Order," reported Women for Human Rights. Lily Thapa, founder and executive director of the organization says she hopes that the funds initially proposed to encourage a dowry-like system will now go towards providing social services for single women and their children and to give the poorest widows monthly allowances regardless of age.


  • A new emergency contraceptive that could prevent pregnancy up to five days after intercourse has been hailed as an "exciting" step forward by pro-choice groups, Ireland’s Belfast Telegraph reported Jan. 29. The drug, ulipristal acetate, provides a contraception ‘window’ of up to five days compared with three for the traditional emergency pill. New research indicates that the drug more than halved the risk of pregnancy compared with the 72-hour pill, levonorgestrel. Ulipristal acetate has been licensed for use in Europe since last May, but it’s only available by prescription and costs three times more than the alternative drug, the Telegraph reported.




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The nation’s teen pregnancy rate rose 3 percent in 2006, the first such increase in more than a decade. The data reflect an increase of 4 percent in teen birth rates and a 1 percent rise in abortion rates. Seven percent of teen girls became pregnant in 2006, according to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute.

There was a decline in teen pregnancy in the 1990s, but that decrease stalled in the early 2000s when sex education programs began exclusively promoting abstinence and were prohibited by law from discussing the benefits of contraception.

Unrelated research conducted by University of California Davis indicated coercion, partner violence and birth control sabotage are contributing factors to the rise in teen pregnancy, the Los Angeles Times reported this week.

"This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners," Elizabeth Miller, a co-author of the study, said in a news release. "What this study shows is that reproductive coercion likely explains why unintended pregnancies are far more common among abused women and teens" Jay Silverman, a co-author of the study and a professor at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a news release.

While the rise in teen pregnancy is being seen in all demographic groups, the gap between white teens and teens of color has returned to their higher levels.

More News to Jeer This Week:

A report released Jan. 28 indicated that Irish women struggle to overcome the financial, logistical, physical and emotional burdens imposed by restrictive laws and policies that force them to seek abortions abroad, without support from the state. Every year thousands of women and girls travel from Ireland to other European countries for abortions, according to the Human Rights Watch report, "A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland."


Jan. 29 was the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the law that reinstated women’s rights to fight their employers in court for pay discrimination. While this was a positive step towards achieving equal pay for women, the U.S. Census bureau says women are still earning 77 cents to every dollar that a man earns. This could soon be changed if the Fairness Paycheck Act is passed in the Senate, Lilly Ledbetter, a Women’s eNews 21 Leader, argued in an essay posted on the Huffington Post.

In Memoriam:

Ruth Proskauer Smith died Jan. 22 in her Manhattan home at age 102, according to The New York Times. She was the founder of the organization that is now known as Naral-Pro-Choice America. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe in 1932 and became a field worker for the Planned Parenthood League.