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The emergency contraceptive Plan B will now be available at all military health clinics and hospitals around the world, announced the U.S. Department of Defense Feb. 4, according to various news services.

A proposal to offer these drugs for women in the military was also made in 2002, but was rejected under President George W. Bush’s administration, reported The Washington Post on Feb. 5.

"We applaud the medical experts for standing up for military women," said Nancy Keenan of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who expects this decision will affect more than 350,000 women.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • In response to an anti-choice commercial CBS has agreed to air during the Feb. 7 Superbowl, Planned Parenthood launched a pro-choice video on YouTube on Feb. 2. The YouTube video features NFL player Sean James and Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner. In a press release about the pro-choice video, Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards explained that it was Tebow’s ability to make such an important and highly personal medical decision without government interference that the organization wants for all women. Also, a group identified as Raging Grannies, has made a video that to date has been viewed by thousands. http://bloggingheads.tv/morevideo/25835

  • Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Representatives William Delahunt, D-Mass., Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., are leading a coalition that introduced on Feb. 4 the International Violence Against Women Act. The legislation would for the first time make stopping violence against women and girls a priority in U.S. diplomacy and foreign aid, the Family Violence Prevention Fund said in a press release.

  • Gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, told a Senate hearing on Feb. 2. Mullen, emphasizing he was speaking for himself, said allowing gay women and men to serve was "the right thing to do," BBC News reported. Feb. 2. President Barack Obama has pledged to repeal the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy that requires gays and lesbians to conceal their sexuality or face expulsion.

  • Kathryn Bigelow became only the fourth woman to be nominated for best director by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Feb. 2, the Los Angeles Times reported. Her film, "The Hurt Locker," which looks at life in a bomb-disposal squad in Iraq, received nine nominations, including one for best picture. On Jan. 30, Bigelow became the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America’s top award for the same film.

  • Programs targeted at women and girls will not be affected by Obama’s plan to freeze domestic spending, reported McClatchy Newspapers Jan. 31. A budget document obtained by McClatchy, titled "Opportunity and Progress for Women and Girls," outlines plans to increase funding for women’s programs under the new $3.8 trillion budget Obama presented to Congress Feb. 1.

  • Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and Lady Gaga dominated at the Jan. 31 52nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony. R & B pop vocalist Beyonce accepted six trophies, Taylor Swift won four awards and Lady Gaga won two.




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Amnesty International is urging U.N. member states to repeal Nicaragua’s ban on abortion after a human rights review of the country Feb. 4.

Under Nicaragua’s latest penal code, which was revised July 2008, women and girls who seek abortions and the health professionals who assist with the procedure are subject to imprisonment. This is true even if the woman faces detrimental health risks or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, reported Amnesty International.

The revised penal code is inconsistent with the country’s Obstetric Rules and Protocols issued by the Ministry of Health, to mandate therapeutic abortions as clinical responses to specific cases.

"Nicaragua’s law criminalizing abortion goes against the advice of four U.N. treaty bodies and fails to meet its obligations under international human rights laws," said Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. "Nicaragua needs to repeal this law immediately and enact laws and policies that promote the rights of women and girls by ensuring their rights to health, life and to be free from violence, coercion and discrimination."

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Turkish police have recovered the body of a 16-year-old female teen they say was buried alive by relatives in an "honor" killing carried out as punishment for talking to boys, The Guardian reported Feb. 4.

  • Even as business begins to pick up, the number of women working at the heart of Wall Street has shrunk, according to The New York Times. Only one of three top ranking women on Wall Street has resurfaced after being forced out the business during the most recent financial meltdown. Bruce C. Greenwald, professor of finance and strategy at Columbia University’s business school, said, "It is more difficult for women to come back because the environment in financial institutions is generally more hostile to women."

  • Almost 9 out of 10 U.S. female teens say the fashion industry is at least partially responsible for girls’ obsession with being skinny, a survey indicates, reported UPI on Feb. 2.The survey of more than 1,000 girls ages 13-17, released by the Girl Scouts of the USA, found 89 percent say the fashion industry, and 88 percent say the media, put pressure on them to be thin.


  • U.S.-based nursing mothers were asked Jan. 29 not to send their breast milk to Haiti because the refrigeration and safeguards were not in place to properly handle the donations, MSNBC reported.

  • A study indicates that an experimental abstinence-only program without a moralistic tone can delay teens from having sex, reported the Associated Press on Feb. 1. The study, published in the February edition of the Journal of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, has ignited abstinence-only advocacy groups to continue re-examining the Obama administration’s move away from funding these types of programs.