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The Obama administration will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act Section 3, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage and providing same-sex couples with equal benefits, reported CNN Feb. 23. President Barack Obama ordered the Department of Justice to end defense of the law, which targets same-sex couples who are legally married under state law. The Wall Street Journal said Feb. 25 that the decision will not immediately impact same-sex couples but it should shape changes in the courts and Congress that could affect a slew of government policies.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has already lent his voice and his wealth to a number of national issues, is now speaking out against the attack on Planned Parenthood, The New York Observer reported Feb. 22.
  • Tunisia is currently standing tall, many of its 10 million people, including women, proud that their revolution became an example for other countries, The New York Times reported Feb. 22.
  • Women should make up at least 25 percent of the boards of the largest British companies by 2015, a report commissioned by the government recommended Feb. 24, according to the New York Times.
  • Hanoi, Vietnam, hosted an international conference seeking to ratify Convention no. 183, which concerns the rights of working pregnant and nursing women, VOV News reported Feb. 22.
  • A colonel in Baraka, Democratic Republic of Congo, was sentenced to 20 years for crimes against humanity after a mass rape in the village of Fizi, reported the Houston Chronicle Feb. 21.
  • In a study, menopause hot flash symptoms did not raise heart disease risks and may actually be associated with some protection from stroke and cardiovascular events, reported the Journal of the North American Menopause Society Feb 25.




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The U.S. House of Representatives voted Feb. 18 to defund Planned Parenthood, the latest salvo in what Nancy Pelosi termed the "most radical assault on reproductive rights in our lifetime."

Find background articles in the WeNews archive to make sense of what’s going on. Read a physician’s bleak assessment of the outlook for abortion rights; the rise of anti-choice state legislators in the midterm elections; and House Speaker John Boehner’s outlook on Congress. Also bear in mind the threats to Social Security, upon which older women disproportionately depend.

On the state level, it’s hard to keep up, but here’s a sample:


  • Georgia legislator proposes a "prenatal murder" bill that calls for investigation of "unsupervised" miscarriages.
  • Virginia legislature approved a bill regulating clinics where first trimester abortions are performed.
  • Texas legislature may soon vote on a bill mandating sonograms for women seeking an abortion.
  • Kansas lawmakers in the House passed one of the two bills that restrict abortion and mandate parental consent.
  • Iowa is mulling a bill to protect unborn fetuses by classifying them as separate people.
  • Montana legislature passed a bill preventing abortion providers from offering materials to students and forcing school districts to provide parents with an opt-in option for sex education courses.
  • A New York billboard calling attention to African American abortion statistics was taken down. The billboard, part of an anti-abortion campaign that has also been seen in Atlanta, is an attempt to shame black women and discredit the work of Planned Parenthood, critics say.
  • Nebraska legislaturehas recently resurrected a bill–which South Dakota was forced by public opinion to drop–that could offer legal protection for those who attack abortion providers. Called ‘Justifiable Homicide,’ news of the measure was reported by Mother Jones and polarized the atmosphere of the abortion debate nationwide.

In your state: Find out what the choice-related laws are in your state and how your state ranks in a national grading system provided by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Bedouin smugglers in the Sinai region of Egypt that borders Israel have raped dozens of African women over the past year who they had promised to smuggle into Israel, according to a Feb. 24 report from the Israel-based Haaretz newspaper.
  • Israel’s protection for refugees fleeing gender-based persecution is lacking due to restrictive government policies, stated a report  Feb. 23.
  • Security forces in Sudan are using repeated sexual violence on women in Khartoum to repress opposition activists, reported AP Feb. 23.
  • In the United States, only 11 percent of civilian workers and 3 percent of the lowest-income workers have paid family leave benefits, reported Human Rights Watch in a report Feb. 23.
  • In Chile, not even therapeutic abortions, induced to preserve the health of the mother, are an option for women, reported the Guardian Feb. 23.


  • Women’s groups in Tunisia say they are concerned that in the aftermath of the revolution conservative forces could tug the country away from secularism, according to a Feb. 22 report by The Age.
  • Fourteen Vietnamese women, seven of them pregnant, have been rescued from an "illegal and inhuman" surrogate baby breeding ring in Bangkok, Thailand, AFP reported Feb. 24.
  • Under the Russia-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya is swiftly becoming a conservative Muslim state, where many Chechen women are the first in three generations to cover their heads, according to a Feb. 23 report by Voices of America.
  • Pooling data from several of the U.S.’s cancer registries, scientists found that mammography did not catch as many tumors among women with a history of cancer as it did among those who have never had the disease, Time Magazine reported Feb. 24.
  • Cosmetic tattooing, also known as micropigmentation, can have serious side effects, reported the New York Times Feb. 23.
  • In a study, more than half of female teens became more aware of the needs of others through social networks compared to less than a third of boys, reported the Chronicle of Philanthropy Feb. 24.
  • Men in romantic relationships rated women as less attractive than other men in a study, reported Discovery News Feb. 22.

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