Dan Robert’s article discusses a speech President Obama gave today at a conference of about 1000 people for Planned Parenthood. Obama criticized lawmakers of attempting to take women’s rights back to the 1950′s by attacking abortion laws and Planned Parenthood. The president stressed that the decision for women’s rights to choices and freedom concerning their bodies were determined 40 years ago, so states and lawmakers shouldn’t be trying to turn the clocks back. He specifically stated that no politician should get to decide what is best for women. Obama went on to praise Planned Parenthood for the education, support and, services it provides for women across the country, vowing that the centers are not going anywhere.
Sarah El Deeb’s article discusses the opposition that a UN Women’s document has received from the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt. The group has opposed this document because of clauses within it that they consider incompatible with the tenants of Islam. Actual details of the document have yet to be released pending negotiations. Officials are remaining optimistic that the document will pas, but there is speculation that Egypt will seek the choice to opt out of sections of the document before passing it. Libya has also publicly rejected the document. Egypt has called for an amendment to the document before they would approve it. Issues lie in the differences in interpretations of ideologies of Islamic law. The rise in Fundamentalist groups as a result of protests and political upheavals in the region has led to more traditional interpretations as well as an increase in violence against women. Women activists have responded on both sides, some agreeing with the document and others with those who have challenged it. Issues between differences in interpretations have created contention amongst Politicians and activist who have called for stronger protection and enforcement of rights for women. Shannon
The senate today passed the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. All of the women senators voted in favor, as did all of the democrats and not surprisingly those who were opposed were republican men. Some very important changes were that Native American women, GLBT women, and immigrant women were all included. I am glad the Senate finally got it together to renew and expand the act. Women across the United States are grateful.
Based on the deadly gang rape the president added an anti-rape ordinance into law. Protesters are furious because they say it was crafted without any input and falls short of bringing perpetrators to justice. The outcry is also due to the perceived dismissal of the recommendations made by the Verma committee’s report. The finance minister did say that the ordinance would speed up the trial of those accused in the gang rape. One positive move was when the Supreme Court is considering a measure to lower the age of adult from 18-16, therefore, those that are found guilty of sexual assaults will face time in prison.
Indiana Gov. Daniels said that he is going to sign a bill that would cut funds to Planned Parenthood, PP will attempt to file an injuction to appeal. What this bill will do is cut $2 million of its Medicad funding. Indiana says that MEdicad funding cannot be used for abortion at any place, but PP says that the Medicad funding is used for other things such as birth control and breast cancer screenings. Speculations state that Daniels wants to run for president and this is his way of attracting social conservatives. The this story is still developing but here is the link to this article:
The following is the newspaper content I quoted from the Yahoo! News.
SEOUL (AFP) – South Korea’s Constitutional Court on Thursday upheld a military law banning homosexual behaviour, saying the need to maintain discipline takes precedence over individual sexual freedom.
In a 5-4 split decision, the court ruled that the military criminal code which punishes homosexual behaviour with up to one year in prison is constitutional.
“The legal code cannot be seen as discrimination against gays because such behaviour, if left unchecked, might result in subordinates being harassed by superiors in military barracks,” it said in a statement.
The law’s purpose was to ensure discipline within the whole military organisation, the court said.
The ruling came after an army military court filed a petition with the Constitutional Court. It asked whether the military criminal code, written in 1962, was discriminatory against gay soldiers and thus unconstitutional.
Homosexuality is not illegal under the civil legal code.
This article explores how the United States is (very) slowly waking up to something that was realized in Sweden long ago (and was proven to work!)…that in order to truly combat the commercial sex trade (both consensual and non-consensual) they must penalize the demand and not the supply. In short, the johns and not the prostitutes. The author discusses the fairly new phenomenom of “John Schools” which teach mean who engage in transactional sex the harsh realities of prostitution. While research has shown that being sentenced to John School was less of a deterant than the “public shaming” route (i.e., posting their name and photo in the local paper or on a billboard), it is an important step in the right direction for states to realize that in order to shrink the supply, you must attack the demand. Along with these legal steps have also come legislation in Illinois that protects minors involved in the sex trade from legal punishment, an issue that has been grossly ignored. My hope is that one day, the U.S. will follow in Sweden’s footsteps and make an actual difference in the lives of millions of young girls who are trafficked here to fill the demand for sex. – Lenna Jones
I’m beginning to think that I need to post more light-hearted and uplifting articles on this blog! But, continuing in my (depressing) habits, here is an article about a pregnant Illinois woman who attempted suicide after her boyfriend and business partner left her after she found out he had another family. Distraught, she drank rat poison in an attempt to end her life, which instead ended the life of her unborn child. So, of course, the state of Illinois has put her in jail.
Aside from her tragic story, what struck me most about this piece is the frequency with which this sort of thing happens. Apparently, “Women have been prosecuted for child abuse or feticide when they miscarry; pregnant women who are addicted to drugs have been charged with trafficking drugs to minors; and pregnant women have been forced to deliver via cesarean section under court order. Some states also require doctors to report if a pregnant woman is taking drugs — a law which sounds reasonable on its face, until you think through the logical outcome: Women who are addicted to drugs just won’t seek medical care, which means they won’t get treatment for their addictions and won’t get basic pre-natal care” (Jill from Feministe).
What it boils down to is: pregnant women are being treated differently by the law than non-pregnant women or men. The author of the article points out, people aren’t prosecuted for attempted suicide, but a woman who tries to kill herself but kills her baby instead is locked up instead of being offered mental health treatment or counseling, forcing yet more trauma upon her without any regard for her well-being. It is obvious that the poor woman in the article has suffered terribly, and wants only to try to rebuild her life, but she is being punished anyway.