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Donors to Planned Parenthood of Indiana will cover the cost of treating Medicaid patients through the next week, after a state law cutting off Medicaid funds to the health-care provider took effect May 11, reported the Indianapolis Star May 14. The organization is challenging the constitutionality of the law in federal court and a judge is expected to decide by July 1 whether to allow the law to continue being enforced until the final verdict. The private donations may not cover costs until the judge’s decision but can ensure current patients’ coverage at least through May 21.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Maj. Gen. Augustin Bizimungu was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that killed 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, reported CBS News. The conflict led to a 100-day mass killing and the rape and sexual abuse of women and girls.
  • Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed a bill May 12 that severely limited privacy for minors and restricted women’s access to reproductive health. The Center for Reproductive Rights sent a letter to the governor urging him to veto the bill.
  • A coalition of women’s advocacy and civil rights groups in Maine is vowing to block a bill that would give legal standing to human fetuses, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported May 18.
  • After three separate rapes occurred within nine days at California Polytechnic State University, school officials have launched their own investigation separate from the police, reported the Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Calif., May 18. Change.org created a petition after the first rape occurred, calling for a change in the way the school handles sexual assault on campus.
  • The NoVo Foundation, aimed at creating equality and partnership in our culture, launched a 10-year, $80 million initiative last week to end violence against women in the United States, according to a press release May 13.
  • Yale University, with the help of Patricia and Peter Gruber, is creating the Gruber Foundation to improve science, global justice and women’s rights, while helping young scientists, the college announced in a press release May 16.


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Conservative talk radio host Michael Savage focused on the rape charges against IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan in his show May 16. Many listeners called in to criticize women who bring rape charges as liars and Savage called many rape charges a sign of “feminism gone wild.”

Jeffery Shapiro, the lawyer for the woman bringing sex assault charges against Strauss-Khan, rejected any notion that she consented to sex in the New York hotel room on May 14, reported AFP. The woman, a hotel worker, testified in court on May 18.

Shapiro also appeared on the “Today Show” May 18 and denied a report published by the New York Post saying his client lives in HIV/AIDS housing.

In an e-mail exchange with Women’s eNews, Annemarie Strassel, communications coordinator for Hotel Workers Rising, a labor group, commented on the general safety risks of hotel workers.

She said that while reports of sex assault by guests on hotel workers aren’t common, safety practices such as leaving doors open during cleaning show it’s “not unheard of.”

Strassel said staffing cuts by hotels won’t help workers’ safety.

“Many hotels have been severely cutting back on staff in recent years, meaning that housekeepers can be working alone on a floor, without even the presence of a hotel supervisor nearby,” Strassel wrote Women’s eNews in an e-mail. “Also, there have been cuts to security personnel. All of this can affect, among other things, the security of workers.”

According to the Daily Mail, the woman called her brother crying before anyone else about an hour after the alleged attack. He then told her she should call an attorney.

–Katherine Rausch

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Libyan rebel leaders announced new appointments to the government that better represent the county as a whole, which leaders say make civil war unlikely, but women only hold 2 of about 40 leadership positions, reported the New York Times May 19.
  • The National Yemeni Midwives Association said at a seminar in the capital city of Yemen, Sana’a, that the country would require at least 20,000 midwives if it is to combat the estimated 2,555 women who die annually during childbirth, IPS News reported May 17.
  • The Texas House voted May 19 to strip state funding to all hospitals and clinics that perform abortions or even “abortion-related services,” endorsing an obscure amendment tacked onto an already convoluted overhaul of Medicaid funding and disbursements, reported the Houston Chronicle. Around the same time, GOP Gov. Rick Perry signed into law a measure that requires all doctors to conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion. Kansas will require annual, unannounced inspections of abortion clinics, which abortion opponents say will protect patients, but abortion rights supporters fear they will drive one or more of Kansas’ three abortion clinics out of business, MSNBC reported May 17. A Nebraska bill, making telemedicine abortions a felony, will be sent to Gov. Dave Heineman, an anti-abortion Republican, the Nebraska StatePaper.com reported May 19.
  • British women retiring can expect a pension that is £6,500 ($10,500 U.S.) less than that paid to men this year, The Telegraph reported May 17.


  • Christine Lagarde’s deft handling of the G20 presidency has made the French finance minister a frontrunner to become the first woman to run the International Monetary Fund. Her candidacy comes in the wake of assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but a potential legal inquiry could upset her chances, Reuters reported May 19.
  • Home births rose 20 percent in the United States between 2004 and 2008 despite medical professional policies against it, MedPage Today reported May 20. The National Center for Health Statistics report indicated that in 2008, significantly fewer preterm infants were born at home (6 percent) while 12.4 of all hospital births were preterm.
  • A man who beat a blind, deaf 88-year-old woman to death was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on May 19, reported the Sacramento Bee in California.
  • The British government recently signed on to the European Union human trafficking directive, while publication of its strategy to combat trafficking–which has been criticized by some campaign groups–has been postponed to June, according to a May 18 report from the BBC. For more information, read corresponding stories on WeNews: Trafficking Victims at U.N. Highlight Need for Recognition, In Syria, Iraqi Refugee Daughters Risk Being Sold, Anti-Sex Trade Turns to Focus on Men Who Buy Sex and Bulgarian Trafficking Victims Face Hard Homecoming.
  • In South Florida, 15 of the 105 obstetrics-gynecology practices refuse to take on new patients who are overweight, Mother Jones reported from a new study May 18.
  • The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, told CNN May 16 that the court will investigate allegations of security forces in Libya using sexual enhancement drugs as a “machete” and gang-raping women they stop at checkpoints.
  • Iran’s judiciary has postponed the blinding of a man as punishment for throwing acid in the face of a young woman in 2004, reported Time magazine May 15.
  • After much pressure from the prime minister, the British justice secretary apologized for comments he made on a BBC Radio 5 Live interview saying some rapes are not as serious as others, reported the Telegraph May 18.
  • The extra weight from overeating during pregnancy could put both the expectant mother and the baby at risk and lead to health problems, such as high blood pressure, later in life, according to research conducted by Bristol University, the Telegraph reported May 18.
  • Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger admits he had a child 10 years ago with a member of his household staff while married to Maria Shriver, reported the Los Angeles Times May 17.
  • Women in Italy, Germany, Finland and Britain are among the most likely in the industrialized world to end up without children. About 24 percent of Italian women, 20 percent of German and Finnish women and 19 percent of British women reach menopause childless, a study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found, the Britain’s Daily Mail reported May 19.
  • A new study found 26.3 percent of professionals have extramarital sex and the more powerful the person–male or female–the more likely they are to do so, MSNBC reported May 19. The team of Dutch university psychologists, about to publish the findings in the journal Psychological Science, says the reason there are more stories about powerful males sleeping with their employees is because more men are in power positions.
  • A new, decidedly feminine, form of graffiti has touched landmarks in the U.S., Europe, Asia and beyond, the New York Times reported May 18. “Yarn-Bombing”–crocheting coverings for public landmarks–is a new form of street art, according to one of its practitioners.
  • A grand jury charged the female teens who beat a transgender woman at a McDonald’s restaurant in the Baltimore area last month with a hate crime, reported the Associated Press May 16.
  • More women are taking their husbands names after marriage, according to research reported the Wall Street Journal May 13.

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