Anti-choice bills failed in a number of states this week. The Arizona Senate said no to employers dropping health insurance coverage for birth control, reported the AP, although it may come for a vote again this session. Idaho’s state representatives won’t pursue the controversial ultrasound abortion bill, NWCN.com reported. An Oklahoma judge has permanently blocked a requirement for women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before the procedure, reported MSNBC News. Georgia’s House of Representatives rejected the state Senate’s altered version of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, after the Senate included exceptions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Female beach volleyball players won’t have to wear bikinis at the 2012 London Olympics, Yahoo! News reported March 27.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader, may return to the campaign trail after suspending her bid due to illness, The Telegraph reported March 26.
  • Distribution of free female condoms in parts of Washington, D.C., with high HIV rates prevented enough infections in its first year to save over $8 million in future medical costs over and above the cost of the program, according to a study, The Washington Post reported March 26.
  • House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) apologized to committee member Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) for calling her a liar during a February hearing on contraception coverage, The Hill reported March 27.


Approximately 400 women and girls have been imprisoned in Afghanistan for "moral crimes," Human Rights Watch said in a March 28 report. "Crimes" include fleeing from illegal forced marriages and domestic violence. Almost all of those interviewed in juvenile detention had been arrested for moral crimes while about half of the women interviewed in Afghan prisons were arrested on these charges. Many of the imprisoned fear being killed by family members after their sentences have been served because they have "shamed" their families. The 120-page report is based on 58 interviews conducted in three prisons and three juvenile detention facilities.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • In the wake of the shooting of the unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, ABC News on March 24 reported on the common survival anxieties of African American mothers for their sons.
  • A Manhattan jury refused to convict a New York police officer of rape, in part because the victim could not recall the color of a car parked by the courtyard where she was sexually assaulted, sources told the NY Daily News March 29.

  • About 1-in-5 pharmacies incorrectly deny female teens access to emergency contraception or the "morning after pill," Time Magazine reported March 26.

  • The average annual compensation of women who lead four of Washington’s most politically active industry groups lags behind that of male peers by more than $1 million, according to data in tax filings, Bloomberg reported March 28.

  • An 18-year-old Ukrainian woman has died in the hospital after being gang-raped, half-strangled and set on fire, reported the Guardian March 29.

  • The Arizona Senate approved a sweeping anti-abortion bill that generally bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and institutes new disclosure requirements, including one that requires women to look at a state-run website with images of fetuses at two-week intervals, Reuters reported March 28.

  • The sports news portal that ESPN launched to celebrate Title IX, the gender-equity law in federal funding, has drawn some negative reader commentary. Says one reader: "Title IX is one of the dumbest things ever invented. Honestly embarrassing that we still use it today."

  • The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority has violated federal discrimination laws towards pregnant employees, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found, according to Legal Momentum on March 28.


  • A ban on brothels puts prostitutes at risk and is unconstitutional, Ontario’s top court ruled, The Washington Post reported March 26.

  • Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.), in arguing for passage of the Violence Against Women Act on the House floor, recalled her own experiences in being sexually molested as a child and raped as an adult, reported ABC News March 29.

  • The gender imbalance in China for newborns has improved for a third consecutive year but is still high, reported CBS News March 29.

  • The Susan G. Komen foundation, criticized in February for its decision to cut grants to Planned Parenthood and pressured into reversing the decision, has canceled its annual "Lobby Day" in Washington, D.C., reported the Daily Beast March 28.

  • The Women’s Media Center released a "Media Guide to Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates + Politicians," as part of its "Name It. Change It" project, on March 26. Download here. The group also launched a microsite called Women Under Siege that displays a map of reports of sexual violence in Syria.

  • One-third of women’s wage gains through the 1990s are due to the availability of oral contraceptives, according to a study published online by the National Bureau of Economic Research March 2012.

  • IBM’s new CEO, Virginia Rometty, has revived discussions and criticism of the all-male membership of an exclusive golf club that hosts the Masters Golf Tournament, which IBM sponsors, reported the AP March 30.
  • In Memoriam:

    Feminist poet and essayist Adrienne Rich, 82, whose work has become regular reading in colleges and universities, died on March 27 of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, reported the New York Times. She was active in the women’s, antiwar and civil rights movements. In 1997, Rich declined the National Medal of Arts, the United States government’s highest award bestowed upon artists, responding that the government honored a "few token artists while the people at large are so dishonored."

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