The Oklahoma Supreme Court halted an effort to grant “personhood” rights to human embryos, saying the measure is unconstitutional, CBS News reported May 1. The state’s highest court ruled unanimously that a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would define a fertilized human egg as a person violates a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a Pennsylvania case and “is clearly unconstitutional.”
Supporters of the personhood amendment are trying to gather enough signatures to put it before Oklahoma voters on the November ballot. Opponents contend the measure would ban abortions without exception and interfere with a woman’s right to use certain forms of contraception and medical procedures, such as in vitro fertilization.
Meanwhile in Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, vetoed the second anti-abortion bill brought to him in recent weeks, reported Ms. Magazine May 1.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- The Justice Department has settled a first-of-its-kind discrimination case against the nation’s largest mortgage insurer for requiring women on maternity leave to return to work before the company would insure their mortgages, CBS News reported May 1.
- Dozens of women filed a lawsuit against Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna, alleging that his participation in legal action seeking to overturn the new federal health care law threatens access to comprehensive coverage for women, reported the AP May 3. As of the morning of May 3, 90 women had signed on as plaintiffs.
- CNN Money reported that “a growing number of dads are staying home with the kids” when women pursue their careers. Reporter Jessica Dickler writes that “among fathers with a wife in the work force, 32 percent took care of their kids at least one day a week in 2010,” citing data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This figure reflects an increase of 26 percent since 2002.
- President Obama’s top female White House aides earn more on average than their male counterparts, a reversal from the pattern in the George W. Bush administration, The Washington Times reported April 30.
- Opposition leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi was officially sworn into Myanmar’s parliament on May 2, reported the New York Times.
- The majority of younger Virginia physicians are women for the first time in the state’s history, but men still dominate the overall ranks, according to a state report, The Washington Post reported May 1. Fifty-three percent of physicians under 35 are women, while two-thirds of all physicians are men, the report shows.
- The May 7 issue of Sports Illustrated features a number of articles on Title IX, the law that prohibits sex discrimination at federally-funded educational institutions. On the magazine’s website, you can read about the Top 40 Athletes of Title IX Era, how title IX shifted attitudes about women and sports and how Title IX allows women to excel in sports and life.
Al-Qaida militants in Yemen are now said to be targeting unveiled women by harassing them and, at least in one instance, physically abusing them as the militants try to enforce the full-face veil, according to local residents, the Egyptian news website Bikya Masr reported April 29. Several girls were sprayed with acid on their face for refusing to bow to the demands of the extremists.
Although the Quran only specifies that a woman should cover her hair, neck and ears, some choose to understand this somewhat differently, arguing that since the wives of the prophet were covered, so should all Muslim women, the article reported.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- The Department of Health and Human Services sometime in the past month updated its list of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs to endorse an abstinence-only sexual education program, reported RH Reality Check May 1.
- The United Methodist Church, at its convention in Tampa, Fla., voted not to change long-contested wording in its book of laws and doctrines that calls homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching,” reported the New York Times May 3.
- A federal judge stopped Texas from withdrawing state funds to Planned Parenthood through the Women’s Health Program on April 30. On May 1 a federal appeals court delayed the injunction pending an appeal that the state filed, reported the Los Angeles Times May 2.
- Breastfeeding can exact a high cost — not in terms of immediate monetary outlay but in its long-term impact on a woman’s earnings, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, The Washington Post reported May 1.
- A Dallas transgender woman was issued a ticket by a police officer for using the women’s restroom at an area hospital, reported MSNBC May 2.
- Vice President Biden will not host a kickoff barbecue for Susan G. Komen foundation’s major annual event, the Global Race for the Cure, in Washington, D.C., though he and his wife Dr. Jill Biden have done so in years past, reported the Daily Beast May 4. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., who formed a team for the race in 2011 that raised more than $10,000, said that he will not be participating this year and linked the decision to Komen’s move to cut funds to Planned Parenthood, though the foundation later altered its decision.
- Despite arguments over anti-choice legislation and the health care mandate regarding birth control, lobbying levels for both pro-choice and anti-choice groups were down in the first three months of 2012, reported a blog run by the Center for Responsive Politics May 2.
- The Department of Justice has opened a probe into whether the University of Montana at Missoula and local police mishandled 80 reports of sexual assault in the past three years, reported CNN May 2.
- A national study suggests that a significantly greater number of highly educated women in their late 30s and 40s are deciding to have children, according to a study in the Journal of Population Economics.
- French leader Marine Le Pen, of the far-right National Front party, wants conservatives to join a new patriotic coalition she is creating in the hope of winning seats in parliament for the first time in a quarter of a century, reported Reuters May 2. Read: French Women Wield Little Influence in Election, France’s Marine Le Pen Can Claim the XX Factor.
- The arrest of 17 HIV-positive sex workers in Greece came amid a crackdown on unlicensed brothels in the country, reported the AP May 2.
- Women account for 47.6 percent of today’s traditional work force, but represent 53 percent of the growing independent work segment, reported Marketwire May 2.
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