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On Aug. 26, the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote and of the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, a coalition of women’s organizations, called HERvotes, announced plans to counter attacks on women’s economic and health security through a new multi-organization effort, according to an Aug. 24 press statement. The goal is to mobilize female voters in 2012 around preserving women’s Health and Economic Rights (HER rights).

"Current attacks against Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Title X are attacks against women, plain and simple," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, in the press release. "It’s unjust to prioritize Wall Street corporations over Main Street women and families as some leaders are doing now."

HERvotes also released a list of the top 10 historic laws that impacted women’s lives and security, but are now in danger of being weakened, cut or eliminated by extremist policies at the federal, state and local levels.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The New York-based Girl Scouts of the USA announced Aug. 24 that it had selected Anna Maria Chavez as its new chief executive officerandmdash; the first Hispanic woman to serve in the position, reported The Associated Press. Chavez, 43, will be taking over from Kathy Cloninger, who is retiring after overhauling the leadership organization’s programs and direction over the past eight years.
  • Two cases involving New York City women who endured stillbirths due to hospital malpractice are among the first to move through the legal system since New York’s highest court changed state law in 2004. Since the ruling, mothers can sue for their emotional suffering when they can show that medical carelessness caused a stillbirth, reported The New York Times Aug. 24.
  • Singer Cyndi Lauper is finalizing plans for the appropriately-named True Colors Residence, the first permanent, supportive housing facility for LGBT youth in New York State, set to open Sept.1 in the Harlem area of Manhattan, reported the Gothamist Aug. 23. Lauper and her manager have been working with the West End Intergenerational Residence to create a program with "social and educational support services" and employment placement for residents.


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Judge Michael Obus formally dismissed all criminal charges against former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, reported the New York Daily News Aug. 23. Kahn’s accuser, a Guinean immigrant and former hotel worker, Nafissatou Diallo, who accused Khan of raping her, was denied her request for a special prosecutor.

After the hearing, Strauss-Kahn issued his first statement since his arrest, characterizing the criminal inquiry as a nightmare for me and my family and thanking the judge, his own wife, Anne Sinclair, and family and other supporters, reported The New York Times Aug. 23.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Flight attendant hopefuls in South Korea accused Garuda Indonesia airline of inappropriately handling their breasts in medical examinations, reported Agence France Presse Aug. 24. An unidentified woman said several dozen applicants were required to strip to their underwear so the examiner employed by the airline could check for tattoos and breast implants, reported The Huffington Post Aug. 25.
  • Jamie Leigh Jones, the Houston woman who claimed she was raped while working in Iraq for defense contractor KBR, now has to pay for its legal fees and court costs, reported The Wall Street Journal Aug. 23. In its motion to recover more than $2 million in fees, KBR alleged that Jones’ claims were fabricated and frivolous. The company has also requested that she cover its court costs of $145,000.
  • Virginia health officials are planning to release draft emergency regulations for abortion clinics as soon as Aug. 26 that reproductive-health activists say could impose strict physical, staffing and equipment requirements and could force many of the state’s clinics to close, reported The Washington Post Aug. 25.
  • An 80-year-old man was arrested Aug. 25 on suspicion of sexually abusing his two mentally disabled daughters for 41 years and beating and threatening them to keep them subservient, reported The Associated Press the same day.
  • Noted:

  • Top Republicans denounced Vice President Joseph R. Biden for saying during a visit to China that he fully understood Beijing’s one-child policy, which critics say has led to forced abortions and forced sterilizations, reported The Washington Times Aug. 23.
  • A report released by the New York City-based Guttmacher Institute found that 6.7 million pregnancies in the United States, or 49 percent, were unintended, reported The Washington Post Aug. 24. These numbers show no improvement since the last time numbers were analyzed in 2001, when 48 percent of pregnancies were unintended.
  • Michigan State University researchers found that overweight or obese women were less likely to become pregnant using fertility treatments, reported Reuters Aug. 24.
  • The ratio of unplanned pregnancies among Taiwan’s married women was considerably higher than in other countries, signaling a lack of awareness of family planning, a study by the Bureau of Health Promotion found, reported Focus Taiwan Aug. 23. The study on unplanned pregnancy and related factors found that of the survey respondents’ 7,000 pregnancies, 63 percent were unplanned, much higher than the roughly 50 percent in Europe or the United States.
  • A test that detects the two strains of human Papillomavirus that are most likely to raise the risk of invasive cervical cancer, when combined with the Pap test, may be more accurate for many women than the Pap test alone, a new study indicates, reported USA Today Aug. 24.
  • Supporters of a viral international campaign calling for an investigation into allegations of serial rape at a factory in Jordan are calling on Jordanian Queen Rania to tweet her support for the rape victims, Change.org said in a press statement Aug. 24.
  • A federal judge ordered North Carolina to honor its funding contract with a Planned Parenthood affiliate, pending the outcome of a lawsuit the organization filed after the General Assembly cut off its funding, reported The Charlotte Observer Aug. 20.
  • Consumer advocate and Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren has picked up a major union endorsement from the Massachusetts Nurses Association, reported The Huffington Post Aug. 25

In Memoriam:

  • Jack Layton, founder of the White Ribbon Campaign and leader of Canada’s the New Democratic Party, died of cancer at 61, reported CBC News Aug. 22. Layton founded a coalition of men vowing to end violence against women, known as the White Ribbon Campaign, early in his political career.

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