Augusta National, the staunchly all-male golf club that hosts the Masters golf tournament and has earned the ire of women’s activists led by Martha Burk, announced its first female members, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Aug. 20. Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, and Darla Moore, partner at the private firm Rainwater, Inc., were welcomed by Augusta in a statement that acknowledged: “This is a significant and positive time in our club’s history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family.”


More News to Cheer This Week:

A new organization WORD is planning marches across the United States on Sunday, August 26 to mark the 92nd anniversary of U.S. women gaining the right to vote. A press release said the demonstrations in eight U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago–on the eve of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, and followed by the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.– are in support of women’s rights.  WORD is an acronym for Women Organized to Resist and Defend.

 The youngest delegate to the Republican National Convention, 22-year-old Jackie Curtiss, made a surprising objection to parts of the Republican platform, reported Buzzfeed Aug. 23.

Local chapters of the National Organization for Women, or NOW, are pushing the Democratic National Convention to make changes so that women with children can more easily participate, reported Politico Aug. 20. They point out the lack of child-care options and the barriers that female delegates face in bringing children to the convention floor.

Planned Parenthood launched a $3 million breast health initiative that will increase screenings and education, reported Reuters Aug. 20. The push is being funded by the surge in donations that followed Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s announcement earlier this year that it would end donations to the organization; a decision it quickly reversed.

A study on mice finds hope for a future male contraceptive pill, reported the BBC Aug. 20.


A federal appeals court ruled that Texas can cut funding to Planned Parenthood clinics that provide services for low-income women — before the trial over the controversial law begins in October, reported the New York Times Aug. 21. Planned Parenthood sued the state after it passed a law that the organization — which legally separated itself from the arm that provides abortion services — could still not participate in its Women’s Health Program. A federal judge issued an injunction in May against implementing the law before the trial took place, arguing there was sufficient evidence that the law is unconstitutional. The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the injunction, disagreeing that Planned Parenthood would likely win at trial.

More News to Jeer This Week

A Dominican teenager with acute leukemia who was at the center of an abortion debate in her country died on Aug. 17, CNN reported.

The committee charged with approving the Republican platform gave the go ahead to a draft that, like the 2008 platform, calls for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion that makes no mention of exceptions in the case of rape, incest or the mother’s health, reported Politico Aug. 21.


During a weekly broadcast a British member of parliament George Galloway said that the charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange don’t count as rape because “not everybody needs to be asked prior to each insertion,” reported the Guardian Aug. 20.


Female students in Iran are now barred from taking 77 university degree courses this school year, as they officially have been labeled “single gender,” reported the Telegraph Aug. 20.


Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, seeking the oust Sen. Claire McCaskill from her Senate seat, has vowed to remain in the race despite outrage regarding comments he made that in cases of “legitimate rape” women’s bodies reject pregnancies.  McCaskill is now leading Akin by 10 points according to a Rasmussen poll, reported Politico Aug. 23. On July 30, Rasmussen had Akin ahead by three points. Read More: Akin Clings to Campaign After Rape-Comment Furor.

Mitt Romney encouraged Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., to leave his Senate race, but the Daily Telegraph reported Aug. 22 that Romney met with Dr. John Willke, the doctor who informed Akin’s comment, in October during a campaign stop.

Mothers who work full time report better mental and physical health than stay-at-home moms or mothers who work part time, according to a new study, reported HealthDay News Aug. 21.

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Preibus criticized President Obama’s views on abortion and specifically abortions that happen in the third trimester, reported Politico Aug. 23.

Although the link between age and offspring is often focused on mothers, research links aging fathers to schizophrenia and autism, reported the New York Times Aug. 22. The study, published in the online version of Nature, found that while a mother’s increasing age is linked to chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome, risks for complex developmental and psychiatric problems come from men.

Nine additional high-profile women have been announced as speakers at the Democratic National Convention, reported CNN Aug. 22.

A poll conducted for Britain’s Sunday Times found that 31 percent of men but only 16 percent of women thought that Ecuador was right to grant asylum to Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder who is wanted for questioning in Sweden and has been accused of rape and sexual assault, reported the Huffington Post Aug. 20.

In Memoriam

Paula Kassell, a long-time activist for feminist causes and the founder of a durable publication for women, died on August 20, 2012 at home in Dover, N.J.  She was 94 years old. Her death was reported by her son, Daniel Kassell of New York City. Her publication, New Directions for Women, which began as a New Jersey periodical and went national, continued from January 1972, before Ms. magazine got on the stands, until 1993.–Betsy Wade

Phyllis Diller, the stand-up comedian and actor, died on Aug. 20, reported the New York Times. She was 95.

Japanese journalist Miya Yamamoto, a war correspondent who reported on women’s oppression in Afghanistan during Taliban rule, was killed in Syria while reporting on the country’s civil war, reported the New York Times Aug. 22.

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