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Entries in women's rights (122)

Wednesday
Apr172013

GOP Ices Sanford Campaign | Judge Keeps Jackson Abortion Clinic Open | Teen Sex Primarily Uses Contraception

1. GOP ices Sanford Campaign. The House GOP’s campaign committee announced Wednesday that it will no longer have any involvement in the comeback bid for Congress from former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

The decision comes after yesterday’s news that Jenny Sanford, the former governor’s ex-wife, has accused him of trespassing at her home more than once and in violation of their divorce settlement. The couple is due in court two days after a special House election on May 7 between Sanford and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Busch is a businesswoman and older sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who is helping her campaign.

The couple divorced in 2010 after Mark Sanford admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. The then governor disappeared for days, leaving his wife, staff and voters clueless as to his whereabouts. Sanford is now engaged to Maria Belen Chapur. Jenny Sanford has custody of the couple four sons.

“I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford told the AP this week about her ex-husband’s race. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children, I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

2. Judge keeps Jackson abortion clinic open. The Jackson Free Press reports that a celebratory mood turned quickly to panic yesterday at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization “when a young bearded man wearing a military-style waist pack entered the abortion clinic unescorted and without an appointment.” After putting his hands in the air, proclaiming that he was unarmed, a police officer escorted him out of the clinic.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III halted a process that seemed likely to close JWHO, making Mississippi the first state without an abortion clinic. Jordan ruled that the state cannot close the clinic before the conclusion of a pending federal lawsuit over a 2012 state law requiring all abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital.

The Republican-appointed judge Jordan said that Mississippi was attempting to create a patchwork of law in which constitutional women’s rights apply in some states and not others. JWHO is owned by Diane Derzis, who finds herself engaged in a similar lawsuit in the state of Alabama.

Leslie Hanks, a pro-life demonstrator from Colorado, says she recently helped put Personhood on the ballot for the fourth time in Mississippi.

3. CA Gay Conversion Ban in Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is hearing arguments for and against a new California law banning gay ‘conversion therapy’ for minors. The new law which is the first of its kind in America, bars licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of people under the age of 18.

A small group of therapists — frequently conservative Christians — challenge scientists, arguing that reparative therapy intervenes where gender confusion is caused by childhood trauma, resulting in reshaping one’s sexual orientation.

Large numbers of gay men say they suffered deep harm over reparative counseling that left them guilt-ridden and anguished.

The lawsuits to be argued on Wednesday were brought by two conservative legal groups, the Pacific Justice Institute, based in Sacramento, and Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Liberty University in Virginia, reports the New York Times.

The state of California’s brief argues that the law “prohibits licensed mental health professionals from treating children and teenagers with a discredited, ineffective, and unsafe therapy in a misguided effort to change their sexual orientation.” 

Similar bills have been introduced in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

4. Women = ‘vaginas’. New Hampshire state rep Peter Hansen is under severe criticism after referring to women as ‘vaginas’in an email sent on New Hampshire House internal email. Hansen was arguing with Republican Rep Steve Vaillancourt, who defended retreating from violence, rather than confronting the force with force. Hansen said that his colleague hadn’t considered the case of women and children. Choosing not to use those words, Hansen initially wrote:

‘What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s [sic] of course,’ he wrote. 

The comments were imemdiately picked up by Democrat State Rep Rick Walrous, who wrote: ‘Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women? Really? he wrote.

‘Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve.’

Local political blogger Susan the Bruce reported the exchange adding ‘That the representative chose to describe women as ‘vagina’s’ is certainly an affront to half the population. That he failed to properly pluralize the word adds insult to idiocy.’

View chart larger.

5. Teen Sex Survey. “Policymakers and the media often sensationalize teen sexual behavior, suggesting that adolescents as young as 10 or 11 are increasingly sexually active,” writes lead author Lawrence Finer, about his new study of sexual activity in America’s youngest adolescents. “But the data just don’t support that concern. Rather, we are seeing teens waiting longer to have sex, using contraceptives more frequently when they start having sex, and being less likely to become pregnant than their peers of past decades.”

Among adolescents were did report having sex said that it was coerced. Sixty-two percent of females who had sex by age 10 said it was coerced, as did 50% of those who experienced sex by age 11.

Contraceptive use is common among teens, according to the study, with use among girls as young as 15 similar to that of older teens. More than 80% of 16-year-olds used a method at first sex. A year after having first sex, 95% of those teens had used contraceptives. via Guttmacher Institute

Related: 2008 State-Level Teen Pregnancy Data Now Available. (Yes, 5 yrs. later)

Monday
Apr152013

Vatican Confirms That Reform of American Nuns Will Proceed Under Archbishop Gerhard Mueller

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Was I prescient today? Hardly. It’s just that Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz says that fashion designers are a little like Catholic nuns, grinding away in the trenches and not leading glamorous lives. Elbaz seems pretty off the mark, but we so love him that he’s forgiven. 

That quote led me to circle back with an exceptional interview given by Sister Simone Campbell to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour after the ordination of Pope Francis. 

Sister Simone’s interview was followed by this one on 60 Minutes with Sister Pat Farrell, previous head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and Bob Simon.

The headlines are working their way around the world with news that Pope Francis has spoken. The Inquisition of American nuns will continue. This news doesn’t come as a surprise, although it dashes the hope of American nuns like Sister Simone and Sister Pat Farrell, who will be forced now to speak aggressively against birth control, abortion and women priests in the future. 

AOC writing on crackdown of American nuns.

Vatican Crackdown Continues

Pope Francis has affirmed that the investigation of American nuns will continue, dimming the hopes of American nuns that a Jesuit pope with shared values on the poor might take a different approach than Pope Benedict. 

The Vatican imposed an overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious after deciding that the American nuns were taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality. The sisters were accused of embracing “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

While praising the nuns’ humanitarian work, investigators accused the of ignoring critical social issues.

Archbishop Gerhard Mueller, who is in charge of implementing the crackdown on American nuns, met today — Monday — with officials of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, informing them that the reorganization and reforms will be implemented. 

Catholic Culture reports: In his remarks at the meeting, Archbishop Müller reminded the LCWR leaders that their group exists to promote cooperation among the individual orders and with the hierarchy. “For this reason,” he said, groups like the LCWR “are constituted by and remain under the direction of the Holy See.”

All bets are off in what the sisters will do next. They have vowed not to compromise their group’s mission. Exactly what that mission is remains to be seen. 

History of Vatican Conflict

August 11, 2012

Barbara Marx Hubbard was the featured speaker at this week’s Missouri meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The main focus of the meeting was drafting a response to the Vatican’s claims that American nuns are “radical feminists” out of step with the church’s teaching. Of course, the members of LCWR don’t see themselves in this light.

June 11, 2012

Both sides in the discord between American nuns and the Vatican described yesterday’s talks in Rome as open and cordial. But the Vatican wasted no time in reiterating that it expects the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to change its way to energetically promote church doctrine “as Faithfully taught through the ages”, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The Vatican charges that the LCWR has been “silent” on those issues that are most important to the church leadership: abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and the ordination of women.

April 20, 2012

The sisters were reprimanded for making public policy statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” The disagreements have been acute over President Obama’s healthcare legislation and most recently the contraception mandate compromise.

January 23, 2012

Investigation of American Nuns

It’s noteworthy that on Jan. 4, Cardinal Franc Rode resigned as head of the Vatican’s ‘cabinet office’, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life, that deals with religious orders, including nuns worldwide. 

Writing for Huffington PostAmerican nun Maureen Fiedler says that Cardinal Franc Rode is an arch-conservative with an archaic view of religious life that resonates with the 18th century, rather than the 21st.

Thursday
Apr112013

Eden Foods Files Suit Against Contraception Mandate, Citing Birth Control As Immoral | G8 Takes On Rape As War Crime

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Eden Foods Says Contraception Is Murder & Immoral

Salon drops the bombshell that Eden Foods CEO and founder, Michael Potter, is seeking in court to deny employees the right to contraception as part of Obamacare. Potter objects to contraception and argues that the contraception mandate violates his rights under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Eden Foods also supports personhood amendments, believing that the rights of a fertilized egg are equal to those of the breast-feeding mom with three kids and an adoring husband who is eating those chips. Eden also believes de facto that this same woman should die in a Catholic hospital emergency room, rather than save her life — if such action could possibly harm her zygote or embryo. Salon continues:

Eden Foods, which did not respond to a request for comment, says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that “these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” The complaint also says that “Plaintiffs believe that Plan B and ‘ella’ can cause the death of the embryo, which is a person.” (Studies show that neither Plan B nor Ella interfere with fertilization, which is the Catholic definition of the beginning of life, if not the medical one. In other words, not the death of an embryo. Also, at that stage, it’s a zygote, not an embryo — let alone a “person.”) The filing also said that “Plaintiff Eden Foods’ products, methods, and accomplishments are described by critics as: tasteful, nutritious, wholesome, principled, unrivaled, nurturing, pure.”

Under no circumstances will Eden Foods ever work its way into my kitchen again — and I’ve bought plenty of their products over the years. ~ Anne

G8 Acts on Rape in War

Hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who invited humanitarian Angelina Jolie to join the G8 ministers at today’s meeting in London, the ministers agreed to set up an international framework for investigating and prosecuting rape” while making no provisions for amnesties ever for sexual violence in peace treaties. 

Hague called the use of rape as a war tactic “the slave trade of our generation.”

Jolie, who is the UN special envoy for refugees, was joined by the the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura.

Hague and Jolie announced a USD 35.4 million international agreement for action against sexual violence in war zone. 

“Our goal must be a world in which it is inconceivable that thousands of women, children and men can be raped in the course of a conflict, because an international framework of deterrence and accountability makes it impossible,” Hague told his fellow G8 foreign ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US in the run-up to the annual summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland in June.

Shocking Anti-Rape Bra

Three Indian engineering students led by Manisha Mohan, an engineering student at SRM University in Chennai, have developed ‘anti-rape’ lingerie in response to the brutal gang rape in Delhi. Mohan calls the bra SHE ‘Society Harnessing Equipment’.  

The garments are wired with pressure sensors and equipped with an “electric-shock circuit board” which delivers up to 82 shocks when the garments detect unwanted force. Using a GPS system, the lingerie is also designed to send an alert to parents or police. 

The students say that the inside of the garments are insulated with polymer — with a circuit placed near the bosom “because in the attempt of rape or roadside-eve-teasing, as per survey, women are attacked first on their bosom.”

A website for the project reveals what looks like what looks like a white nightgown with wiring between the breasts. Mohan cited India’s recent Delhi and Bangalore rape tragedies as inspirations for the development of the product.

Mohan explains that a woman can switch on an electric switch attached to the waist of the garment when she feels she is in potential danger. “When I know that there is no harm, I switch it off,” Mohan says. “But when I’m moving out of my office late at night, I could turn it on.” When the garment is in “on” mode, the sensors would be able to detect force from pinching or squeezing and unleash the shock, writes The Daily Beast.

In a related story, Forbes magazine writes ‘The Culture of Rape’ and a Smart Phone App: Activism Meets Technology in India

Created by a team led by Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman, whose 2009 film The Line plumbed the controversial areas of sexuality and consent, debuted the Circle of 6 app in the United States last year 

“Basically, we saw the number of downloads in India increase by 1,000 percent after the gang rape in New Delhi – making India the No. 2 spot outside the U.S. for downloads,” said Schwartzman. “We were motivated to translate to Hindi and find the best on the ground resources in New Delhi we could find for women in need.”