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Breastfeeding rates continue to increase in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Science World Report reported July 31. Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of mothers who said they breastfed their babies during the early postpartum period increased from nearly 71 percent to 77 percent. For those who continue to nurse their child for six months, that number has increased from 34 percent to nearly 50 percent, with some continuing on even past a year.
“This is great news for the health of our nation because babies who are breastfed have lower risks of ear and gastrointestinal infections, diabetes and obesity, and mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.
More News to Cheer This Week:
Obamacare’s birth control benefits hit a one-year anniversary this week. An estimated 27 million women are currently benefiting from Obamacare’s no-cost services, with coverage that now includes contraceptive care, HPV vaccinations, mammograms, STD screening and domestic violence counseling, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Through that provision, Obamacare has helped prevent women from continuing to pay disproportionately more for their health care than men do, Think Progress reported Aug. 1.
Mervat al-Tellawy, head of Egypt’s National Council for Women, announced the formation of a watchdog committee to monitor women’s rights during the nation’s transitional period, Egypt Independent reported Aug. 1. The committee will also prepare a document regarding the demands of women after reviewing all Egyptian legislation issued since 1929 to identify areas of weakness with regards to women’s rights.
President Barack Obama nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin to be deputy treasury secretary, The New York Times reported July 31. If confirmed by the Senate, Raskin would be the highest-ranking woman to serve in that department.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins signed the first law making abortion legal in the country under specific conditions, NPR reported July 30. The legislation provides women with access to abortion in cases where their lives are at risk, including medical emergencies and cases in which suicide could be a factor.
A federal judge halted the implementation of a law barring Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky from receiving Medicaid funding, the Indianapolis Star reported July 30. A law passed in 2011 made Indiana the first state in the nation to bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal money because it offers abortions.
Medicare and Medicaid turned 48 years old this week. “Medicaid expansion is a critical piece of the puzzle to ensure more Americans get the care they need,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release July 30. “The Affordable Care Act allows all states to expand Medicaid coverage to reach even more people, and to make sure that your zip code doesn’t determine your health care.”
A new combat uniform specially designed to fit the female body is now available in the U.S. Army, the Daily Mail reported July 29. The debut of the combat uniform-alternate is the first in a series of moves the Army hopes to make in the next three years to help fully integrate female soldiers.
Twitter has faced a major backlash over claims it failed to deal with threats of sexual abuse made on its site last week against a British feminist campaigner, The Guardian reported July 29. Caroline Criado-Perez faced a deluge of hostile tweets, including threats to rape and kill her, after she successfully campaigned for a woman’s picture to be put on a new English banknote. A campaign in her support, calling on Twitter to introduce a button to allow speedy reporting of abuse, has received thousands of signatures and support from United Kingdom members of parliament and celebrities. Scotland Yard said a 21-year-old man was arrested in London July 28 for sending rape and murder threats to the woman on Twitter, The Raw Story reported July 29.
Just a few days later, several female journalists received bomb threats on Twitter, The Guardian reported July 31. Hadley Freeman, columnist for the British publication, got a tweet from an anonymous user who claimed that a bomb had been placed outside her home and would be detonated at 10:47 p.m. Several other women received identical threats. Police are investigating.
More News to Jeer This Week:
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law a measure to regulate abortion clinics based on the same standards as those for outpatient surgical centers, USA Today reported July 30. Critics say the move will close most of North Carolina’s 16 abortion clinics because only one now meets the standards of an outpatient surgical center. North Carolina’s health agency has already closed three abortion clinics in three months for violating health and safety regulations that previously did not cause suspensions, USA Today reported Aug. 2.
Two additional women accused San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment this week. Emily Gilbert said that the 70-year-old Democrat harassed her at a fundraiser where she was hired to sing in December, Politico reported Aug. 2. Another San Diego woman told KPBS News in an exclusive interview on July 30 that Filner tried to kiss her after a business meeting in 2011 when he was a congressman. So far, nine women have reported unwanted sexual advances.
About a third of American youth say they have been victims of dating violence, but nearly the same amount also said they have been on the offending end, U.S. News and World Report reported July 31. Of the young women surveyed, 41 percent said they had been victims of dating violence, but 35 percent said they had committed dating violence at some point. The divide was slightly greater for young men, with 37 percent saying they had been victims of dating violence and 29 percent saying they had been the perpetrator.
A law has been proposed in Texas requiring any woman seeking an abortion to take a three-hour adoption class beforehand, Jezebel reported July 31. There would be exceptions for women whose health is in imminent danger and teens who are victims of rape or incest.
Women and children are increasingly the victims of the 12-year-old war in Afghanistan, according to a U.N. report, Reuters reported July 31. But women’s rights in Afghanistan risk being further undermined in the fragile country’s peace process due to entrenched patriarchal attitudes, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women warned, Reuters reported July 29.
Close to 30 percent of women surveyed in a new study reported having experienced a time when they couldn’t afford diapers for their children, Think Progress reported July 30. The study found that 8 percent of women had to stretch their diapers when the supply was running short.
One hundred and fifty people were arrested and 105 children involved in child prostitution rings across the country were found, the FBI announced, USA Today reported July 29. The FBI said the children ranged from 13 to 17 years old.
Pope Francis said women should be given a bigger role in the Church, but refused to consider their ordination, saying the “door is closed” on the issue, France 24 reported July 29. On the matter of homosexuality, he said he does not judge homosexuals but condemns the gay lobby as a “serious problem.”
Hundreds of women — many of them very pregnant — took to the streets in Istanbul, Izmir and other Turkish cities under the motto “It’s my body. It’s my decision,” Deutsche Welle reported July 29. The protests followed an Islamic pundit’s remark that women who are seven or more months pregnant should not be out in public. Non-pregnant people joined as well, with some men stuffing balloons under their shirts in a show of solidarity.
In New York, mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner‘s campaign manager quit last weekend, CBS News reported July 28. Danny Kedem, a 30-year-old who oversaw Weiner’s candidacy, told Weiner that he could no longer manage his campaign after new revelations about his salacious online contact with women over the last week. Yet Weiner gets broad support from young women. Sugar daddy dating website SeekingArrangement.com found that 78 percent of female clients between ages 18 and 26 approve of Weiner, U.S. News and World Report reported July 30. Republicans turned the term “War on Women” back on Democrats in a memo that highlighted the Democratic leadership’s failure to condemn Weiner and San Diego’s Mayor Filner for their behavior towards women, Politico reported Aug. 2.
Thousands of women have dropped out of a health care program since Texas altered it seven months ago in a fight over Planned Parenthood, state statistics show, The Dallas Morning News reported July 31. Since the state began operating its own Texas Women’s Health Program, claims have dropped 23 percent, or about 4,000 visits monthly.
A majority of the Democratic women serving in the House of Representatives are urging President Obama to nominate Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve instead of economist Larry Summers, who is rumored to be the frontrunner, The Huffington Post reported July 31.
Tunisia’s Femen activist Amina Tyler was released from jail, Middle East Online reported Aug. 1. The young woman who has been detained since May faces trial for painting the word “Femen” on a cemetery wall in protest at a planned meeting of radical Salafists. Earlier this week, a Tunisian court also dismissed a case in which she was tried for contempt and defamation, Al Arabiya reported July 29.
A poll released July 29 indicates that opposition to legal abortion is highest in the Southern Central part of the United States, including Texas. By contrast, support for legal abortions remains highest in the Northeast (in particular New England) and the West Coast states.
New York City fast food workers went on strike to ask for a minimum wage of $15 per hour against $9 currently, The Huffington Post reported July 29. Women make up two-thirds of fast food workers in New York, according to a report by Fast Food Forward. The strikers were also joined by workers in cities that included Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Flint, Mich.
A majority of Americans, 52 percent, would support a law legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, according to the results of a new Gallup poll, RTT News reported July 29.
Lindy Boggs, an early champion of women’s rights and civil rights, passed away in her suburban Washington home over the weekend, MSNBC reported July 29. Boggs was 97.
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