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A law went into effect June 1 in Illinois allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and attain some of the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, reported Ms. Magazine. Hundreds of same-sex couples went to the courthouse for civil union licenses to obtain rights, such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital and the right to make decisions about the partner’s medical care. The bill would not, however, allow same sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The federal government told Indiana on June 1 that it would not approve a state law attempting to keep Medicaid dollars away from clinics that perform abortions, which is directed at Planned Parenthood, reported the Atlantic. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Sioux Falls against a new South Dakota law requiring that women undergo a 72-hour waiting period and mandatory counseling from a crisis pregnancy center before obtaining an abortion, Ms. Magazine reported May 30.
  • Navy Secretary Ray Mabus noted that while there is a ban on moving women into combat and infantry jobs, more and more women are working with special operations forces in support roles. And he did not rule out the idea that a qualified woman could eventually become an elite commando, The Associated Press reported May 30.
  • Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy’s Public Act No 11-23, An Act Concerning the Establishment of a Lupus Education and Awareness Plan, will establish within the Department of Public Health an inter-agency advisory panel to assess the current state of education on lupus in that state, according to the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. The disease disproportionately affects women.
  • The New York Times named Jill Abramson as its first female executive editor June 2, taking the place of Bill Keller, reported Reuters.
  • Badminton World Federation shelved a rule proposal for women to wear skirts. The law has been called both dated and sexist, The Telegraph reported.


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The first of five abortion-restricting bills passed by Florida’s state legislature was signed into law June 2 by Gov. Rick Scott. The bill removes coverage for abortions in health care insurance exchanges created by federal health care reform, The Florida Independent reported. Florida is among a long list of other states that have passed a similar law.

Meanwhile, Alabama has six bills that would restrict abortions that are far enough along that they might pass in the session’s closing days, The Birmingham News reported May 30.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Pierre hotel in New York City suspended a supervisor who stopped a hotel worker from immediately reporting that she was groped by Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, 74, the former chairman of Egypt’s Bank of Alexandria, reported the Daily News May 31.
  • A 19-year-old was found dead in a forest in Ukraine a week after she went missing amid suggestions that she had been ‘punished’ for breaking Sharia, reported the Telegraph May 31, but police say the killing has nothing to do with religion.
  • A Saudi businesswoman says she was raped by her driver, reported AFP June 1, in light of many women protesting for their right to drive. The man was arrested after the woman, who was not named, went to police.
  • The single mother poverty rate in the United States is the highest compared to 15 other high-income countries, according to a report by Legal Momentum. In 2004, the U.S. rate was at 49 percent, followed by Canada with 48 percent of single mothers living in poverty.


  • Activists and bloggers are pressing Egypt’s military rulers to investigate accusations of serious abuses against protesters, including claims that soldiers subjected female detainees to so-called "virginity tests," The Associated Press reported June 1.
  • A 40-year-old Bangladeshi woman cut off a man’s genitalia and took it to a police station as evidence that he raped her, reported The Express Tribune May 31.
  • An estimated 2,500 young people aged 15-24 become infected with HIV every day, with young women and girls particularly vulnerable, according to a report by the Opportunity in Crisis released June 1 by UNICEF, UNAIDS and other U.N. agencies, reported IRIN.
  • Investigators said they have captured the Chechen man suspected of fatally shooting in 2006 investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, reported UPI June 1.
  • Legal Momentum announced May 31 it has filed an amicus curiae brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiff in Pimentel v. Dreyfus. The plaintiff, a legal immigrant who was battered by her spouse, is challenging a decision by the State of Washington to end her state-funded food assistance.

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