Illinois Marriage Equality Bill Passes Senate
Illinois Senate voted yes on the Marriage Equality bill this February 14th, 2013, potentially making Illinois the 10th state in the US to legalize marriage equality. The vote was reached by a Democratic supermajority of 34-21, including only one Republican. “We have the approval today to welcome all families in Illinois as equally valued,” said State Senator Heather Steans, the bill’s sponsor, to the Associated Press. The bill must also pass the 118-member House, though Gov. Pat Quinn has promised he will sign it into law.
Malala Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pakistani teen Malala Yousufzai has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace prize. Malala rose to international fame after she was singled out and brutally attacked by the Taliban for her work and advocacy for educational opportunities for girls. The prize will be awarded in October 2013. If awarded, Malala will be one of only 15 female recipients of the prize, and by far the youngest recipient.
Iran’s Parliament Considers New Restrictions on Women’s Travel
Single women in Iran will require the permission of their guardians in order to leave the country if a new bill secures enough votes in Parliament. Presently, unmarried women and men above the age of 18 are allowed to exit the country if they have a passport. In November, legislators reportedly voted for language requiring single women up to the age of 40 to get official permission from their father or male guardian in order to even secure a passport.
Planned Parenthood Blocked from Texas Women’s Health Program
Because of recent Texas legislation banning health clinics from affiliating with abortion providers, on Jan. 11, a Texas judge upheld a ban preventing Planned Parenthood from rejoining a health care program for low-income women.
Sex Trafficking Case in London
Nine Oxford men were in a London court on January 15 being indicted on 51 counts related to the abuse of six girls they allegedly drugged, raped and sex trafficked. The girls were between the ages of 11 and 15 years old when the crimes took place. The men allegedly targeted vulnerable girls and used them to lure others into the criminal ring.
23% of women reported being “on a diet” in 2012—a drop from 35% in 1992. Latest studies from the NPD Group, which has been tracking American’s dieting habits for over 30 years, seem to indicate Americans are more accepting of a little extra body weight (now associated with living longer) and that the term “diet” is becoming passé. The study also showed more people are now indicated they diet for more than a year, suggesting that the term is more about lifestyle adaption, and not short-term changes.
Senate Advancements for Women
After the 2012 U.S. elections, a record 20 women now hold US Senate seats, including Tammy Baldwin, the first openly lesbian senator.
Indonesian Supreme Court Candidate Suggests Women May Enjoy Rape
Daming Sanusi, a candidate for the Indonesian Supreme Court, has added fuel to the already incendiary climate around the subject of rape onJanuary 14th. Daming’s response to a question about whether the death penalty should be applied in rape cases, according to the Jakarta Post: “Both the victims of rape and the rapist might have enjoyed their intercourse together, so we should think twice before handing down the death penalty.” News of his comments quickly spread on social media, prompting calls for Daming’s dismissal as a candidate for the Supreme Court.
Roe vs. Wade 40th Anniversary
January 22, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States. The case was argued by Texas attorney Sarah Weddington to an all-male supreme court headed by Chief Justice Warren Burger. The court deemed abortion a legal right under the 9th and 14th amendments to the Constitution. Despite favorable consideration by a majority of Americans since its decision, the ruling narrowly survived attempts to overturn it the 1989 case Webster vs. Repreductive Health Services and again the 1992 case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
Possible Links Between Surgical Menopause and Memory Loss
Evidence from a study released January 14, 2013, suggests a link between a decline in memory and thinking skills and women who have undergone surgical menopause—the removal of both ovaries before natural menopause occurs, often due to a hysterectomy. The study was conducted at Rush University Medical Center and included 1,837 women between the ages of 53 and 100, 33% of whom had undergone surgical menopause. The earlier the surgery was preformed, the faster there seemed to be a decline. There was also a significant association between age at surgical menopause and the plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Study authors say the connection warrants further research.
Contributed by Bergquist, Brenner, Haas, Ponomar, Young