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As President Barack Obama continues to struggle to win a deal from Congress to extend the federal government’s borrowing limit, women’s groups are calling on him to save programs upon which women disproportionately depend–Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security–from the chopping block.

The National Council of Women’s Organizations launched a campaign on July 12 to protect those three programs, as the Aug. 3 deadline to raise the debt ceiling approaches and Republican leaders are pressing for major spending concessions and balking at tax increases. While the government’s legal borrowing limit is not the same as the 2012 budget debate, it involves similar pushes and pulls between Democrats who want to preserve public spending programs and Republicans pressing for lower taxes and spending.

The campaign begins with a letter from the National Council of Women’s Organizations to Congress demanding that it reach a budget deal that does not cut funds from programs women disproportionately rely on in the United States.

The launch of the National Council of Women’s Organizations to Congress campaign, "Respect, Protect, Reject," coincided with a conference call on how cuts in GOP House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan would directly hurt women. Panel members included representatives from the National Organization for Women, the National Women’s Law Center and the Older Women’s League.

If Ryan’s plan were enacted, for example, nursing homes across the country would close down and women, who are 80 percent of nursing home residents and the "vast majority" of those employed by Medicaid-funded facilities, would experience the greatest economic and health impacts, said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women.

For coverage of budget-related negotiations and women, see these recently published articles on Women’s eNews:

Hochul Win Sends Hands-Off-Medicare Message

GOP’s Block-Grant Plan Merits the Chopping Block

Cash-Hungry States Could Eat Up Food Stamps

Pro-Choice Demonstrators Join Budget Battle Today

Wisconsin Hits Labor, Repro Rights in Single Blow

–Marley Gibbons

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Julie Burkhart, former leader of the political action committee for Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider who was murdered in a Wichita church two years ago, plans to open in a year’s time a clinic in Kansas that offers first-term abortions and health services to women, reported The Associated Press July 12.
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on July 14 that will fairly and accurately portray the LGBT civil rights movement and the historic contributions of the diverse LGBT community in social science instruction, reported the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
  • Planned Parenthood won legal victories in Indiana, Kansas and South Dakota, three states at the forefront of the battle over funding for women’s health care, reported The National Journal July 11.
  • The U.S. women’s soccer team is headed to the World Cup final match on July 17, after a three-to-one victory over France, reported the National Post July 13.
  • Two new studies found that daily pills prevented infection with the AIDS virus in heterosexual men and women in Africa, reported The Associate Press July 13.


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Reports of hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities increased by 13 percent from 2009 to 2010, indicated a report released July 12 by The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, according to the Los Angeles Times July 13. The organization gathered information on a total of 2,503 survivors and victims in 2010, compared to 2,181 survivors and victims in 2009. The report also cites data that indicate transgender people and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of color are the most targeted for brutal hate crimes. Read the report here.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Citing free speech concerns, federal Judge William Pauley ruled against a law requiring New York City pregnancy centers to disclose how they protect client’s privacy and whether they have licensed medical staff, reported The Associated Press July 13. The law was supposed to go into effect on July 14.
  • The Ohio Senate on July 13 passed a late-term abortion ban, the latest of several abortion-related bills the GOP-controlled legislature has passed this year over the consistent objections of Democrats and abortion-rights groups, reported The Plain Dealer July 13.
  • Missouri doctors and hospitals will face new restrictions and penalties for performing abortions on fetuses that are "viable," or could survive outside the womb, reported The Associated Press July 14.
  • The only suspect arrested in the case of an Afghan woman who had her ears and nose cut off after attempting to escape an arranged marriage has been released, according to local Afghan officials, reported The Daily Beast on July 12.
  • Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav is being investigated for harassing a witness as he appeals a rape conviction, police said July 11, The Associated Press reported.
  • The New Hampshire Executive Council voted to cancel the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood and rejected up to $1.8 million in funding for the group because it also provides privately-funded abortions, Reuters reported July 8.


  • President Barack Obama’s administration opposes efforts by Congress to restrict funding for needle exchange and abortions for poor women in the District of Columbia, reported The Associated Press July 13.
  • Google has tweaked the structure of Google+, a new social networking site, by giving users the option of concealing their gender on public profiles, reported PC World July 13.
  • Democrat Janice Hahn has defeated Republican Craig Huey in a bitter contest for a Southern California House seat, reported The Associated Press July 13.
  • Public health officials announced last week that women who have just given birth should wait at least three weeks before they start using birth control pills because of the risk of serious, potentially fatal blood clots, reported The New York Times.
  • China’s most populous province asked for permission to ease the one-child policy after more than 30 years, reported Agence France-Presse July 12.
  • Sources used by the New York Post in an recent article claiming the Sofitel employee who said she was raped by former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a "prostitute" were unreliable, reported the Washington Post July 11.
  • The Brown family of TLC’s reality TV show, "Sister Wives," is expected to file a lawsuit on July 13 to challenge Utah’s polygamy laws, reported The New York Times.

In Memoriam:

  • Betty Ford, the outspoken and much-admired wife of President Gerald Ford, died July 8 in Palm Springs, Calif. She was 93. Her taboo-busting honesty — about abortion, sex, gay rights, marijuana and the Equal Rights Amendment — was a bracing antidote to the secrecy and deceptions of the presidency of Richard Nixon, according to the Los Angeles Times.