Credit: White House photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama marked the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision–the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing abortion as part of a woman’s right to privacy–with a statement calling on the nation to “recommit” to the principle “that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health,” The Hill reported Jan. 22. “We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” Obama said.
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The Moroccan Parliament voted unanimously to amend a law that allows a man convicted of statutory rape to escape punishment if he marries his under-age victim, the New York Times reported Jan. 23. Without the marriage, the law, known as Article 475, mandates only a few years of prison and a small fine. With the vote, the terms of punishment remain, but the exoneration clause has been deleted.
Two Twitter trolls who abused a high-profile feminist who campaigned for women to be used on banknotes in the United Kingdom have been jailed, The Daily Mail reported Jan. 24. Isabella Sorley, 23, and John Nimmo, 25, both told campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez they wanted her to die in a series of vile messages. Sorley was given 12 weeks behind bars while co-defendant Nimmo was given eight weeks in prison.
President Obama launched an initiative that includes the creation of a task force to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, the Associated Press reported Jan. 22. A new White House report found that 1-in-5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault.
French lawmakers approved a controversial abortion bill that scraps a requirement for women to prove they are in distress to legally terminate a pregnancy, Agence France-Presse reported Jan. 22. The measure is a part of a broader legislative package on gender equality. Read more in the Women’s eNews story “France Confirms Abortion Right as Spain Pulls Back.”
A federal appeals court reinstated a portion of a 2011 New York City law that regulates crisis pregnancy centers, known as CPCs, the Feminist Newswire reported Jan. 22. The CPCs operating in New York City must now disclose whether or not a licensed medical professional works on-site at the facility. The disclosure must be posted in English and Spanish at their entrances and in their waiting rooms.
An Alabama women’s prison is a “toxic” house of horrors in which “repeated and open sexual behavior” is the norm, federal investigators said, the NY Daily News reported Jan. 22. A Department of Justice investigation found that for two decades prisoners at Tutwiler Prison for Women have been subjected to all manner of humiliation.
The lengthy list of indignities includes officers forcing women into sexual acts in exchange for basic sanitary supplies, male guards openly watching women shower and use the bathroom, a staff-organized strip show and a constant barrage of sexually offensive language, according to investigators.
At least a third of the 99 employees at the prison with a population of nearly 900 have had sex with prisoners, according to the department.
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Fifty-five percent of female soldiers in the German military say they have encountered some kind of sexual abuse at least once while in the armed forces, an internal study found, Agence France-Presse reported Jan. 24. The report prompted Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen to call for new measures to address problems faced by women in uniform.
Former Republican Arkansas governor and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee asserted Jan. 22 that Democrats are telling women “they cannot control their libido” by offering no-copay contraception through the Affordable Care Act, Think Progress reported. Huckabee also likened Obamacare’s expanded contraception coverage to a sugar daddy.
Tens of thousands of abortion opponents braved temperatures to dance, sing, pray and march up Capitol Hill for the 41st annual March for Life, The Washington Post reported Jan. 22.The 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade was also marked by a tweet sent out by Pope Francis supporting the anti-abortion marchers, the Associated Press reported. “I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable,” he tweeted.
An extensive world report by Human Rights Watch found that the Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai had made a series of decisions in 2013 that undermined human rights, particularly those of women and girls, Al Jazeera reported Jan. 22.
A faction of conservatives planned on introducing a resolution at this week’s meeting of the Republican National Committee urging GOP candidates to speak up about abortion and respond forcefully against Democratic efforts to paint them as anti-woman extremists, CNN reported Jan. 21.
Women represented only 15 percent of the attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year, Quartz reported Jan. 21. Last year, 17 percent of participants at the invitation-only event were women.
Three out of four educated women in Iran are unemployed and have become housewives, the latest employment figures have revealed, according to a press release published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran on Jan. 20.
South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, Mass., is conducting an internal review after two women died from complications during childbirth in one month, the Associated Press reported Jan. 20. Hospital spokesperson Sarah Darcy said the two deaths, on Jan. 15 and Dec. 14 last year, appear to be unpredictable and unpreventable.
A global coalition of women’s groups demonstrated outside of the U.N. Syria peace talks on Jan. 22. to call for an immediate ceasefire in Syria and for women to have better representation at the peace talks, CODEPINK announced in a press release Jan. 21. The coalition, known as Women Lead to Peace, called for a ceasefire in Syria, more humanitarian aid and the active participation of Syrian women in the peace talks.
The European Medicines Agency started a review of emergency contraceptives to see if they work less well in heavier women, the Associated Press reported Jan. 24. In November, French drug maker HRA Pharma announced its morning-after pill Norlevo was less effective in women weighing more than 75 kilograms (165 pounds) and that it didn’t work for women weighing more than 80 kilograms (176 pounds).
The largest liberal “super PAC” in the country has begun raising money to elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as president, the New York Times reported Jan. 23. Clinton has not announced yet if she will be running or not for the presidential election in 2016.
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