UN on Rape as a Weapon of War
The UN Security Council has unanimously voted in favor of a resolution opposing the use of rape as a weapon of war, and the BBC talks to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture about whether that will make a difference. While many "irregular," non-state sponsored actors use rape as a war tactic, complicating the implementation of the resolution, the BBC notes that many non-state groups act with some state sponsorship and that this resolution will make it far harder for offenders to evade justice.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice chaired the special session, and noted that rape and sexual violence not only emotionally and psychologically harm women and girls but devastate the economic and social stability of communities and nations.
Republican Women Defecting to Obama?
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The 82-year-old founder of Republicans for Choice, Harriet Stinson, is throwing in the towel on her own party and re-registering as a Democrat because of John McCain’s views on reproductive rights. Writes the San Francisco Chronicle,
"I couldn’t take it anymore," [Stinson] said, arguing that on issues like funding birth control and support
of sex education, McCain "couldn’t be worse."
Stinson makes the common sense connection: "If McCain is so against
abortion, why does he oppose all the measures needed to
reduce the need for it – making insurance companies cover
contraceptives, federal funding for birth control and comprehensive sex
The Chronicle piece doesn’t have numbers to go on — but if more Republican women put two and two together, as Stinson has done, they might find that Barack Obama better reflects the pro-life position.
Outbreak of Intentional Teen Parenting in Gloucester?
Seventeen teen girls at the public high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, have become pregnant in the past school year, and school officials say that the high number may reflect a "pact" made by the students to become pregnant at the same time and raise their children together. Time Magazine implies that the Gloucester school has made parenting-while-underage so easy it’s enticing:
The high school has done perhaps too good a job of embracing young
mothers. Sex-ed classes end freshman year at Gloucester, where teen
parents are encouraged to take their children to a free on-site
day-care center. Strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways among
cheerleaders and junior ROTC. "We’re proud to help the mothers stay in
school," says Sue Todd, CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the
Perhaps the real culprit is Gloucester’s depressed economy, which offers little in the way of a future to the community’s young people.
No End in Sight for Birth Control Pricing Crisis…
…thanks to the US House of Representatives. The House has passed a war funding measure that, unlike an earlier Senate version, does not include a fix for the spiraling birth control prices for low-income and college women. The bill does, however, feature seven restrictions on Medicaid, the implementation of which six will be postponed. The bill now moves to the Senate. The National Partnership for Women & Families has more.
Catholic Charity Helped Guatemalan Girl Secure an Abortion
Staff at a Catholic charity helped a 16-year-old Guatemalan refugee secure an abortion, the Washington Times reports. The girl’s parents are missing, so in order to circumvent Virginia’s parental notification law, staff from Commonwealth Catholic Charities in Richmond signed for the abortion (social workers are not legally allowed to sign for abortions). In response to the incident, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Kenneth Wolfe stated,
"We have also requested several corrective actions be taken by the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops … in order to prevent this type of
abuse from happening again…Our agency is one that
supports human life, and we take that responsibility seriously."