Undercovered News: Military Lesbian Baiting, African Women More Vulnerable to AIDS Than Men
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds’ job approval dropped to 58% from 72% last month, after he signed a bill outlawing almost all abortions in the state, according to a new SurveyUSA poll.
*Women in the military are twice as likely to be targeted by the military's "don't ask, don't tell" ban on LGBT military personnel, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said Monday. While women comprise about 15 percent of the total military force, they represent nearly 30 percent of all "don't ask, don't tell" discharges since 1993, Department of Defense figures show. "Lesbian-baiting goes back to the early days of World War II, when women began volunteering for service in what was traditionally a man's world," said retired Brigadier General Evelyn "Pat" Foote, an honorary board member of SLDN.
*Gov. Jennifer Granholm will sign into law a bill requiring Michigan abortion providers to give a pregnant woman the option of viewing ultrasound images of her fetus before performing an abortion, according to her spokeswoman. It would mark the first time Granholm has agreed with the Legislature's anti-abortion majority on a measure to regulate the procedure. The bill, which moved quietly through the Legislature, is an expansion of the state's so-called informed consent law.
Source: Detroit Free Press
*Girls under 18 will need a parent's permission before they can have an abortion under a bill signed Thursday by [Utah] Gov. Jon Huntsman. The old law required notification of at least one parent, but not permission. The new law allows minor girls to seek an exception in Juvenile Court to the parental consent rule -- but not the notification requirement -- in cases of abuse, incest or estrangement from their parents, or when a doctor determines the life or health of the girl is at risk.
*South Carolina lawmakers who oppose abortion are looking to next year to further restrict the procedure here. Other Southern states like Mississippi and Tennessee are already trying to follow the lead of South Dakota, where Republican Governor Mike Rounds signed legislation earlier this month that would ban all abortions except those necessary to save women's lives.
*For all the conflict about abortion in recent sessions of the South Dakota Legislature, it's interesting to note that the original decision by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 1973 was little more than a rumor in the halls of the state Capitol building. I look back on that in wonder that the decision that helped create perhaps the most enduring social, legal and political issue of the past three decades came to the state with so little fanfare.
*Kentucky motorists can soon add anti-abortion to the long list of causes to support through specialty license plates. The plates bearing the message "Choose Life" will be available within a few months, state officials said. A federal appeals court Friday allowed Tennessee to offer the anti-abortion license plates, paving the way for other states to do the same. A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned a lower-court ruling that said the tag illegally promoted only one side of the abortion debate.
*After receiving reports that two more women died after taking abortion pills, Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortion and contraceptive services, announced that it would immediately change the way it gives the medicines. The change partly resolves a long-running dispute between Planned Parenthood and the Food and Drug Administration over the safest way to provide pill-based abortions.
Source: NY Times
In the Courts
*The Supreme Court appears poised to make it far harder to prosecute cases of domestic violence when victims are unwilling or unable to testify in court. Over the last two decades, prosecutors in domestic violence and child abuse cases have relied heavily on testimony by police officers and counselors who interviewed the alleged victims when they could not or would not appear in court. But those prosecutions have a formidable foe in Justice Antonin Scalia. He insists the Constitution guarantees all defendants a right to confront their accusers in court, and sees no basis for an exception in cases of domestic violence or child abuse.
Source: LA Times
In the Workplace
*Although the nation's law schools for years have been graduating classes that are almost evenly split between men and women, and although firms are absorbing new associates in numbers that largely reflect that balance, something unusual happens to most women after they begin to climb into the upper tiers of law firms. They disappear. According to the National Association for Law Placement, a trade group that provides career counseling to lawyers and law students, only about 17 percent of the partners at major law firms nationwide were women in 2005, a figure that has risen only slightly since 1995, when about 13 percent of partners were women.
Source: NY Times
*Married at the age of four, an Afghan girl was subjected to years of beatings and torture, finally escaping to discover that within all the world's cruelty, there is also some kindness.
Source: Yahoo News
*A local NGO has launched a programme aimed at finding shelter and jobs for ostracised divorced women in an effort to help them cope with the travails of single life. According to Youmna Abu Hassan, who sits on the board of the Society for Developing the Role of Women in Syria, the project aims to rehabilitate female divorcees by educating them, teaching them skills and providing them with shelter, in order "to make them economically independent." According to a study by the Central Statistics Bureau, there were roughly 17,000 cases of divorce nationwide in 2004. Abu Hassan explained that the majority of these women "couldn't return to their parents' house once they had left it."
*Beatrice Were says she did just what her government recommended - shunned sex until her marriage and stayed faithful to her husband. What she didn't realize is that he was unfaithful. Soon after their first child was born, he caught the AIDS virus and unwittingly infected her. The question of why Ugandans like her husband didn't use a condom is at the heart of a dispute between some health activists and the U.S. government. The activists, as well as some Ugandan officials, accuse the United States of blunting the condom message in favor of abstinence, while the Americans say they are victims of misinformation and have actually increased nearly tenfold the number of condoms they supply to this African nation of 26 million.
*Nearly 80 per cent of the more than 6,000 women and juvenile girls on trial in Pakistan are facing charges under the controversial strict 'Hudood' Islamic laws that mainly deal with crimes of adultery and rape, said a human rights report published on Monday. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report also noted an increase in the killings of women in the name of honour, English Daily Times reported. Most such killings targetted women and girls who contracted marriages against family's will.
Source: Khaleej Times
*Zeng Shuqing, a female farmer from central China's Henan Province, traveled all the way to Beijing for a urban job. Though she is employed in a plastic factory in Beijing now, 41-year-old Zeng has been worrying about her lack of necessary skills to secure their future livelihood and support her two children's education. A joint program, the Action of Promotion of Employment and Rights for female migrant workers in Beijing, was launched on Monday by China and the European Union in a bid to help female farmers like Zeng solve their problems. The program will study and analyze the living conditions, related policies and regulations, employment, medical care, insurance, housing, education and democratic rights of female migrant workers, improve their conditions and provide training and support. Statistics show that women account for a third of the 4 million migrant workers in Beijing.
*Women and girls are far more vulnerable to AIDS than men and need their own U.N. agency to defend them, just as the U.N. children's fund UNICEF protects young people, a top U.N. envoy said on Friday. "What has happened to women is such a gross and palpable violation of human rights that the funding must be found," said Stephen Lewis, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy for AIDS in Africa. "We must right the wrong."
*Some 9 million children in Africa have lost a mother to AIDS, British charity Save the Children said Monday, calling on donors to sharply increase aid to meet their needs. "Incredibly, the impact of HIV and AIDS on children is still being ignored," Save the Children Chief Executive Jasmine Whitbread said in a statement.
*By garnering enough votes from Jews and Arabs alike, Nadia Hilo placed high enough in the Labor Party's national primaries in Israel in January to be considered a shoo-in for the March 28 parliamentary elections. This is Hilo's third run for office. After two unsuccessful attempts, the outspoken grandmother of three is blunt about the obstacles that she has faced in trying to get elected as an Arab woman to the Israeli parliament. "With Arab women, it's double discrimination," she told Women's eNews. "One, they belong to a circle of women in general and everything that discriminates against women also discriminates against them. In addition, they are a minority. It's another kind of discrimination that lowers their representation."
*The men of marrying age in East Africa are calling the current dry season "the drought that killed the dowry." On the world's poorest continent, droughts and changing weather patterns are pushing more and more Africans into cities, putting pressure on already strained resources and changing cultural practices, from diet to marriage traditions. Humanitarian organizations estimate that 3.5 million people, mostly nomadic herders, are facing food shortages in Kenya. About 40 people have died of hunger-related illnesses, and 70 percent of livestock in the drought-affected northeast have perished.
Source: Washington Post