A rocket launches in the 2010 Team America Rocketry Challenge.
Pro-choice rally in Dublin, Ireland.

Credit: William Murphy/informatique on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)



Irish lawmakers voted to allow abortion in limited circumstances for the first time in the deeply Catholic country’s history, reported . Under the new bill, doctors will be allowed to end the life of an unborn child if there is a threat to the life of the pregnant woman.

Lawmakers passed the by a substantial margin — with 127 votes for and 31 against — after a marathon debate.

The bill must still go to the Irish Senate and then be signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins, who could decide to refer it to the Supreme Court to check whether the law is constitutional, reported TV station .

The debate over abortion was re-ignited in Ireland after . The 31-year-old was refused a quick termination of her pregnancy even though she was miscarrying and suffering from blood poisoning.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of a new anti-abortion law in Wisconsin, the reported . The judge granted the order following a hearing in a lawsuit filed July 5 by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services. Last week, WisconsinGov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of the fetus before the procedure and prohibits doctors from performing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a local hospital, reported .

United Nations officials marked this year’s World Population Day by spotlighting the issue of adolescent pregnancy, and calling on governments to take measures to enable girls to make responsible life choices and realize their potential, the U.N. announced in a . It’s estimated that 16 million teens give birth every year. Many are in African or other developing countries, reported .

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed over 50 female leaders at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania July 9, encouraging women to “step up and put themselves on the line” of civic leadership, reported .

A United Nations women’s rights group expressed concern over reports of increasing cases of sexual harassment against women in public places in Egypt, the reported . “UN Women adds its voice to calls on all parties to take a firm stand and show zero tolerance for all forms of violence against women and girls” said Lakshmi Puri, former acting head of the UN Women in a statement.

The Church of England’s law-making body voted July 8 in favor of ordaining female bishops, July 9. Yet, it will be at least two years before the measure, opposed by a minority of traditionalists, can be passed.

Mahmut Tanal, a deputy in Istanbul’s main opposition Republican People’s Party, joined Aylin Kotil, known as the “walking woman,” July 9 to protest Turkey‘s 10 percent election threshold. Kotil, also a member of the Republican People’s Party, set out from Istanbul on July 8 to walk more than 250 miles to Ankara. Kotil said she was planning to arrive at the Turkish Parliament in 22 days to meet with the spokespersons of the four political parties and hand them her manifesto to remove the election threshold, reported .

The Ankara Bar Association has elected its first female head, naming lawyer Sema Aksoy as the president, reported .


Chilean President Sebastian Pinera sent shockwaves across social media when he claimed admiration for an 11-year-old’s desire to continue her 14-week-long pregnancy, the result of two years of rape by her mother’s partner, reported . The president has placed the child under the direct care of the nation’s health minister, as the pregnancy is risky for both the mother and child. “It will be like having a doll in my arms,” the girl told a local TV station. “I’m going to love the baby very much, even though it comes from that man who hurt me.”

The case set off a national debate about abortion in the country where ending a pregnancy is not an option. Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons until they were outlawed in 1973 by Gen. Augusto Pinochet‘s dictatorship. The current administration of the conservative president has opposed any loosening of the prohibition.

More News to Jeer This Week:

California lawmakers are calling for an investigation of the physicians involved in the sterilization of female inmates, reported . Last week, the Center for Investigative Reporting‘s investigation revealed that nearly 150 female inmates were sterilized from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals.

North Carolina‘s House voted July 11to approve a bill with new restrictions on abortion, reported . The bill directs state regulators to change standards for abortion clinics to bring them in line with more regulated outpatient surgical centers. It also requires doctors to be present for an entire surgical abortion and for when a patient takes the first dose for a chemically induced abortion.

A young girl was set ablaze after she was allegedly gang-raped by six men in Etawah, in Uttar Pradesh, India, reported . The girl is battling for life at a hospital with burns on 90 percent of her body.

Human rights activists warned of a new assault on women’s rights in Afghanistan after judges and prosecutors allowed the early release of three people convicted for the brutal torture of a child bride, reported .

Girls as young as 11 are sending out explicit photos of themselves through text messages and social networking sites, the reported . Increasing numbers of girls are being persuaded to send boys explicit images of themselves, but the photographs can often be used to blackmail them through sharing via Facebook and Blackberry messaging.

A Saudi woman was arrested by Irvine, Calif., police on suspicion of human trafficking after a Kenyan domestic worker fled and reported she was held against her will as a slave, reported . Meshael Alayban, described as a princess by , brought the Kenyan to the United States in May and paid her $220 a month while holding her passport and keeping her confined to an apartment complex in Irvine. Four Filipino women who also may have had their passports seized by Alayban’s family were found in the Irvine home.

Female teen characters are sexual fodder for broadcast network TV series, especially comedies, according to a Parents Television Council report released this week, reported . An examination of 238 sitcoms and dramas airing during four weeks in 2011 and 2012 found a third of the episodes included content that “rose to the level of sexual exploitation” of female teens.

A 24-year-old transgender woman was found stabbed to death at her home in Turkey‘s western province of Ayd?n on July 9. Local police have launched an investigation, reported .

Pennsylvania Republicans have decided against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, arguing that covering more low-income residents would cost the state too much money, reported . Last week, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett went a step further, telling a local news station that poor residents, who are already enrolled in the program, including pregnant women and breast cancer patients, are receiving too much free care and should pay into the system.

Several thousand ultra-Orthodox protesters effectively blocked Jewish female activists campaigning for equal worship rights at the Western Wall from holding a monthly prayer session at the holy site, reported .

After confirming the death of women and children among the dozens killed in Cairo July 8, Egypt’s Ministry of Health backtracked and assured that no women or children were among the dead or injured, reported . Against this backdrop, more than 80 women were subjected to mob sexual assaults, harassment or rape on the night of July 3 as thousands of Egyptians celebrated the departure of Mohamed Morsi in Tahrir Square, reported .

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has been accused of casual sexism after joking that the increase in the number of women attending university in Malaysia was due to their desire to find a husband, reported .


The former deputy president of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, was named the new head of UN Women, reported .

International Olympic Committee member Marisol Casado criticized Istanbul for not showing any women in headscarves in the city’s candidacy to host the games in 2020 , reported the .

Women who work shifts are more likely to have reduced fertility compared with women who work regular hours, according to a new analysis of data, reported .

The National Organization for Women is urging voters to stay far away from this election’s two comeback candidates: former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who is running for comptroller, and former Congressman Anthony Weiner, a candidate for mayor, the reported .

Over 9 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 19 in Turkey get married, with 5.9 percent giving birth to their first child within the same age group, according to numbers released by Hacettepe University, reported . Yet, around 12 percent of the pregnancies end in voluntary miscarriages.

Two Saudi women’s rights activistsWajeha Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni — were said to be filing an appeal July 12 after being sentenced to 10 months in prison for helping a woman who had allegedly been abused by her husband, reported .

TexasGov. Rick Perry announced that he will not seek re-election next year, reported . Perry, 63, has been a tough opponent to the right of abortion.

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