New Screening Technique for Ovarian Cancer Shows Promise

Researchers in the US have discovered a potential new way to detect ovarian cancer. Currently, tumors are difficult to detect in the early stages of ovarian cancer, and there is no effective mass screening program.

The study, which was published on August 26 in the journal Cancer, followed 4,051 post-menopausal women for an 11-year period. Scientists have long known that levels of the protein CA125 are higher in the blood of women with ovarian cancer, so the women’s CA125 levels were tracked through yearly blood tests. The participants were sorted into low-, medium-, or high-risk of cancer groups based on their protein levels, and women who had high levels were referred to a gynecologist for an ultrasound. Several women were then treated for early stage cancer.

The findings suggest this screening method may be effective at early detection of cancer. Early detection is vital because currently the survival rate is 90 percent if it is caught early, but only 30 percent if it is caught in the later stages.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as bloating and abdominal or pelvic pain, are often dismissed, so women may ignore them until they are already in the late stages. “Early detection of ovarian cancer will be the key to transforming survival rates. However, this study is very small, and there is no guarantee that the results will be replicated on a larger scale,” Annwen Jones, the chief executive at Target Ovarian Cancer, said in a statement.

Trials of 50,000 women are ongoing in the UK and expected to be completed by 2015. If the UK trials confirm the findings from the present study, tracking CA125 levels could become routine practice.

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ACLU, Planned Parenthood File Federal Suit Against Indiana Anti-Abortion Law

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Indiana yesterday for a new law that singles-out one clinic for offering the abortion pill.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Planned Parenthood Indiana and Kentucky, calls the new restrictions “unconstitutional” and singles out the sole clinic providing medication abortions for regulation. The law would require clinics offering Mifepristone, the non-surgical abortion-inducing pill, to adhere to the same requirements as surgical facilities.

One clinic in Indiana, located in Lafayette, would be affected by the mandate and pro-choice advocates say the law is specifically targeting that facility.

“Imposing requirements for such things as surgical scrub facilities and surgical recovery rooms, when there is no surgical procedure ever performed at the clinic, is not only unreasonable, it is utterly irrational,” the complaint says.

The legislation is set to take place Jan. 1, 2014.

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DOJ Files Lawsuit To Stop Texas Voter ID Law

The Department of Justice filed suit against the state of Texas Thursday for discriminating against minority voters when it passed a voter identification law.

The law, approved in 2011, requires voters to present state-issued photo identification to vote. Federal courts had ruled that Texas did not provide sufficient evidence that the law was not discriminatory. However, after the Supreme Court struck down the formula used to determine which municipalities must submit to preclearance and therefore nullified Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the court decision was undone.

The law requires a Texas driver’s license, personal ID card, or election identification certificate (EIC). However, many counties in Texas don’t have their own driver’s license office “[requiring] some voters to travel approximately 200 miles round trip in order to obtain an EIC” according the suit.

“We will not allow the Supreme Court’s recent decision to be interpreted as open season for states to pursue measures that suppress voting rights,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which determines which districts have to submit changes in their voting practice and regulation regardless of size to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in accordance with Section 5 of the VRA, was unconstitutional. In doing so, the Court essentially nullified Section 5 requiring preclearance in voting regulation changes. Section 5 has been used to stop over 700 discriminatory laws from going into effect between 1982 and 2006.

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American Photojournalist Gang-raped in India

A 22-year-old American photojournalist was gang-raped in an isolated Mumbai neighborhood Thursday night, Indian police said.

The woman, an intern at an American magazine that has not yet been named, was on-assignment with a male colleague when the attack occurred. Five men tied the colleague’s hands with a belt and beat him. They then took the woman to another part of the lot and raped her.

Police said she was in stable condition and expected to make a full recovery. She underwent a minor surgical procedure Thursday night.

One man has been arrested and confessed to the crime, police said. He also gave the names of the other four attackers.

The attack is reminiscent of a similar gang rape that occurred in December in New Delhi. In that case, a 23-year-old woman was gang-raped in a New Delhi bus and later died. This most recent assault sparked a silent protest of about 1,000 people Friday night.

In response to the attack in December, the Indian government passed a strict law that increases prison length for rape and makes acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism and the trafficking of women punishable under criminal law.

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Naval Academy Will Integrate Sexual Assault Prevention into Curriculum

On Wednesday, the US Naval Academy announced that it will integrate sexual assault prevention into the academic program in an effort combat high rates of sexual assault in the military.

Commandant Captain Bill Byrne, who took over the academy this summer, wants to change the current Sexual Harassement and Assault Prevention Education initiative from after-class trainings to part of the classroom structure starting on “Day One.” The program discusses rape and its psychological effects, consent, dating, the effects of alcohol, and what bystanders can do to stop assault. It is expected to be made part of an introductory Navy leadership class during the spring semester and then incorporated into other classes.

In May, the Department of Defense issued an annual report that showed that sexual assault in the military rose by 35% from 2010 to 2012. The report found that 26,000 members of the military experienced “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012 when answering an anonymous survey – a rate of approximately 70 assaults a day. That number is almost 7,000 instances higher than in 2010. In addition the report found only 3,374 reports of sexual assault were filed, according to the Pentagon. Of those cases filed, fewer than one in 10 ended with a court-martial conviction of sexual assault. In the majority of cases, the alleged attacker faced small administrative punishments or the case was dismissed.

“The leadership division and the faculty are figuring out exactly what it means to the student in the classroom, and we aren’t there yet,” Byrne told reporters. “But I feel good that everybody’s in agreement that it’s the right thing to do.”

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County in New Mexico Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples

The county of Dona Ana, New Mexico has begun to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the state Supreme Court referred a related case to lower courts.

Dona Ana Country Clerk Lynn Ellins announced on Wednesday that the County Clerk’s office would being to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “After careful review of New Mexico’s laws it is clear that the state’s marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Dona Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples,” Ellis wrote in a statement. “Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Dona Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Dona Ana County wait another minute to marry.” The County Clerk’s office issued 42 marriage licenses to same-sex couples by the end of the day.

Currently, there are two court cases in New Mexico challenging the denial of marriage certificates to same-sex couples. However, the New Mexico Supreme Court has refused to hear these cases before they go before a lower court. The ACLU of New Mexico had petitioned to expedite one case.

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King said he would not try to stop the county from issuing licenses.

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Tensions Rise on Gay Rights In Russia, Show Legislative Trend

Tensions continue between Russia and the United States in light of an anti-gay law that could jeopardize athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

American Olympic athletes have pledged that they will still attend the Olympics despite calls for a boycott from activists. Nick Symmonds, a 800-meter runner and supporter of gay rights, posted on his blog that if he races against a Russian athlete, “I will shake his hand, thank him for his country’s generous hospitality, and then, after kicking his (butt) in the race, silently dedicate the win to my gay and lesbian friends back home.” Johnny Weir, Olympic figure skater and openly gay, has said he is prepared to be arrested at the Olympics. “In Russia, just the sheer fact that you could be gay, you can get arrested, fined, and it’s a terrible thing to even think of,” he said. “Myself, even, just walking down the street, going to get Starbucks in the morning, and somebody could arrest me just because I look too gay.” But he resolved that despite the threat he will go “Because [this is] what I’m trained to do and [this is] what I’ve devoted my life to.”

While the Olympics are putting the country in the spotlight, Russia’s anti-gay laws are an example of a trend that is spreading in Eastern Europe. Earlier this year, Poland’s former president Lech Walesa told reporters that LGBT members of Parliament should have to sit in back “and even behind a wall.” On the Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnel, Stuart Milk, LGBT activist and nephew of Harvey Milk, told Lawrence “This is what we’re seeing not just in Russia, but throughout eastern Europe. You know, I just got back from the Baltic states, from the backyard of Moscow, and we’ve seen these law come up for a vote. And even in the European Union. At the heart, these laws reflect some of the societal attitudes that we have been working on.”

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Facebook CEO Endorses Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook CEO and 29-year-old billionaire publically announced his support for comprehensive immigration reform in America at an event geared towards building momentum for immigration reform among members of the House of Representatives on Monday night. The event featured the debut screening of Undocumented, a documentary created by immigration reform activist Jose Antonia Vargas. Until last night, Zuckerburg had not made any public declarations regarding his political stance on the issue of immigration.

Zuckerburg’s reasons for supporting immigration reform stemmed from both his personal and professional experiences. He remarked, “someone did a study and it showed half of tech companies are founded by immigrants” to demonstrate Silicon Valley’s need for comprehensive reform. In addition, he narrated his experiences tutoring young students, “I asked the kids what they were worried about” said Zuckerburg, “One raised his hand and said ‘I’m not sure I can go to college because I’m undocumented,’ it touched me.”

Immigration reform that creates a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants currently living in America illegally has been an issue Zuckerburg has taken on personally through advocacy endeavors in the past, though never in the spotlight until now. The website was co-created between Zuckerburg and his Harvard University roommate, Joe Green with the intentions of pressuring Congress to pass comprehensive reform.

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Air Force Veteran Responds to Victim-Blaming Poster

A female veteran reacted to a Air Force base victim blaming sexual assault awareness poster that was posted in the women’s restroom by posting a rival flier with actual resources for survivors.

Jennifer Stephens, a federal employee and a veteran in the Ohio Air Force, was outraged over a poster about sexual assault by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base sexual assault coordinator she found in a women’s restroom. The poster featured victim blaming slogans such as Pay attention to your surroundings. Be prepared to get yourself home. Socialize with people who share your values. After Stephens saw this poster, she reflected to reporters I think this is part of the reason victims are afraid to report incidents. If you are a victim and you have done one of the things on that list, you now feel like it is your fault that you were sexually assaulted.

Stephens responded by creating a poster detailing what information should victims of sexual assault know. She wrote an email to the office of sexual assault in the base, urging them to promote culture change and support victims as opposed to tearing victims down by plastering these types of posters all over the base. Stephen concluded with please take a moment to think about how you would feel if you had been assaulted and you went to a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of Victims Advocate and one of the first questions they asked you was what you were wearing, or if you were alone or if you were drunk. Stephen who is a 10-year veteran of armed forces and a commander in the Ohio National Guard told the reporters that it can create a problem of putting the responsibility on sexually assaulted victims.

Even though sexual assault is under-reported crime in the military, the estimation on sexual assault of last year is 26,000 . According to the Service Women’s Action Network , 37% of female veterans said that they were raped and 14% said they were gang-raped. Outraged lawmakers have introduced different pieces of legislation to combat the epidemic. Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y) has been leading the push by calling for sexual assault cases to be taken out of the chain of command.

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Women’s Rights At Stake in Afghan Peace Talks

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has voiced concerns that the rights of women in Afghanistan may be compromised in the interest of peace negotiations.

The Afghan government has pledged that women’s rights are non-negotiable in the peace negotiations with the Taliban. However, the committee is concerned that without international support women’s rights could be rolled back in Taliban sympathetic areas or even by the government in order to reach a peace deal.

At a news briefing, the chair of the committee, Nicole Ameline, told reporters, “We have had official assurances … I would like to consider a government’s word as credible. But she suggesting that women’s rights may be compromised. We are worried about Afghanistan because we’re at a decisive moment. If we don’t manage to preserve the rights of women after having devoted so much energy, resources and support in all forms in this country, it will mark a failure by the international community,” she said.

The committee cited high prevalence of domestic violence, forced marriages, and an increased number of Taliban attacks on girls’ schools. Ameline explained, Afghanistan displays a concentration of forms of violence which for the most part are linked to patriarchal and ancestral systems, and which are exacerbated when they occur in zones which are not necessarily under direct state control.

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USAID Announces Plan for Afghan Women

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new $200 million program Thursday for Afghan women. The five-year plan, called Promote, is expected to increase economic, social, and political participation of women between the ages of 18 and 30 through education, job training, microfinance and credit for female entrepreneurs, and training for policymaking.

Under the Taliban rule, women faced serious restrictions that regulated their dress, conduct, education, economic participation, health, and activities. While there have been some improvements in women’s rights since the fall of the Taliban rule in 2001, many are concerned that the withdrawal of US troops next year will result in a regression of those advances as well as halt further improvements. According to a Human Rights Watch report, “half of all girls are still not in school and female literacy remains extremely low. Child marriage and forced marriage are common, with 39 percent of girls married before age 18.”

It is estimated that international donors will contribute another $200 million to the program, bringing total funding for the program to $400 million. Head of USAID in Afghanistan, Rajiv Shah, stated that“It is a unique effort to ensure that women are a major part of Afghanistan’s social, economic and political fabric over the next decade, because if they’re not Afghanistan is not likely to be successful.”

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Rick Perry Signs Anti-Abortion Bill Into Law

Today Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) will sign a strict anti-abortion bill into law that will jeopardize 37 of the state’s 42 clinics.

Abortion rights organizations have vowed to challenge the law. Both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Action Fund are currently evaluating their legal options. Similar laws and provisions have been ruled unconstitutional by state and federal courts in Arizona, Idaho, North Dakota, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Many other states currently have stays or temporary injunctions against anti-abortions laws such as Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Kansas.

The Texas law, passed by the full state legislature late last week, requires all abortions to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers, abortion providers to have transfer agreements with local hospitals no more than 30 miles away from the facility, and that providers remain in the room for the entirety of a procedure even when medication-induced. The legislation will also ban abortion after 20 weeks with no exception for rape or incest.

Recently, abortion rights advocate Sarah Slamen revealed that Perry’s older sister, Milla Perry Jones, could represent a conflict of interest for the governor regarding the legislation. Jones is currently a board member of the Texas Ambulatory Surgical Center Society and vice-president of government affairs for United Surgical Partners International. Slamen and other critics believe that by forcing all abortion care to be provided in ambulatory surgical centers will financially benefit Jones and potentially Perry.

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Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Pledges Support to Sodomy Ban

Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General and Republican Gubernatorial candidate, launched a website yesterday defending his state’s unconstitutional anti-sodomy law.

Cuccinelli’s new website,, equates sodomy and oral sex with pedophilia, claiming that 90 child sex offenders — found guilty under Virginia’s anti-sodomy Crimes Against Nature law — will be released if the Supreme Court does not restore the legislation. The Crimes Against Nature law bans oral and anal sexual acts, even between married, heterosexual consenting adults acting in the privacy of their own home.

The Supreme Court deemed Virginia’s law unconstitutional in 2003, following the Lawrence v. Texas ruling against anti-sodomy legislation. Virginia’s law has stayed on the books and Cuccinelli used it to charge a 47-year-old man for soliciting oral sex from a 17-year-old in March.

A federal appeals court rejected the sodomy charge, but Cuccinelli filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, in hopes of overturning Lawrence v. Texas.

Cuccinelli is using the website to attack his Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Terry McAuliffe, saying he is “playing politics” instead of “protecting our children.” McAuliffe said Cuccinelli’s anti-sodomy stance is another example of the Attorney General’s extreme, anti-gay social agenda.

Cuccinelli is one of the only U.S. elected officials to believe homosexuality should be punishable by law and should result in jail time. He told the Virginian-Pilot in 2009 that homosexual acts are “intrinsically wrong.”

Cuccinelli, along with the attorney general of Indiana, wrote an amicus brief opposing gay marriage in the recent California Proposition 8 case, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in June

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House Votes to Delay Key Obamacare Provisions

House Votes to Delay Key Obamacare Provisions The US House of Representatives voted yesterday to delay two key provisions of the Affordable Care Act — marking the 38th and 39th times the House has voted to repeal or amend all or some of President Obama’s landmark legislation.

Wednesday, the House voted for a one-year delay on the requirement that most Americans insurance by 2014.

Legislators also voted to delay the requirement that employers with 50 employees or more to provide health coverage, even though Obama already announced that implementation of this provision will be delayed one year.

The senate does not plan to vote on either piece of legislation. Democrats are calling the votes another attempt by Republicans to weaken the Affordable Care Act and waste time.

Today, Obama will discuss the health care law in a speech at the White House, focusing specifically on a provision that will require insurance providers to refund customers when they spend less than 80% of premiums on medical care. Obama said the provision will result in 8.5 million Americans receiving $500 million in refunds this summer.

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Bipartisan Filibuster Compromise Hails Promising End to Senate Gridlock

A compromise Tuesday between Senate Democrats and Republicans will, at least temporarily, reduce the gridlock of executive appointments. Republicans agreed to move several confirmations through in exchange for Democrats halting their plans to dramatically alter the rules of the Senate, especially the filibuster.

The compromise allowed the appointment of Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to move through the Senate with a vote of 66 to 34 immediately after it was announced. The Senate also approved the appointment of Tom Perez as the Secretary of Labor, who has been supportive Several other nominations are expected to be confirmed soon, including the Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues and positions in the Environmental Protection Agency.

In exchange, Democrats withdrew two nominations made by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board that Republicans contested were illegally made during recess and bypassed the Senate. President Obama has announced two new nominations for the positions that Republicans have said will be confirmed.

Fix the Senate Now, a coalition that “advocates for sensible change to the rules governing the U.S. Senate,” said that this was an important step but that there is still a lot of work to be done to streamline the legislative process. “Until the Senate raises the costs of obstruction to make gridlock for gridlock’s sake a less viable strategy, we will continue to work to fix the broken Senate,” they said.

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House Legislators Cut Food Stamps for 48 Million Americans

On Thursday afternoon, the US House of Representatives passed a severely reduced version of The Farm Bill. This version of the bill eliminated the food stamp program and the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). The bill passed in a close vote of 216 to 208 along stark party lines.

In 2013, 48 million Americans, approximately 1 in 7, utilized the Food Stamp program. Between April of 2012 and April of 2013, 39 states and the District of Columbia saw an increase of SNAP beneficiaries, with Maryland, Illinois, and Wyoming recording SNAP caseload increases of 8% or higher.

The food stamp provision was originally added to the farm bill 50 years ago in an effort to bring partisan support to legislation for farm subsidies during an era when rural congressional members were decreasing in numbers. Since that time the amount of spending within the farm bill for SNAP benefits account for 80% of the bill.

The separation of the Food Stamps program from the Farm Bill was protested formally by a collection of 532 farming organizations that drafted a letter to House representatives stating their desire for the two pieces of legislation to remain together.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) stated that the House would try to draft a separate bill for the Food Stamp program. Earlier this year, both the House and Senate passed other versions of the Farm Bill with the SNAP program intact, but with significant reductions.

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Duke University to Expel Students Disciplined for Sexual Assault

Yesterday, Duke University announced that the “preferred sanction” for attackers in cases of sexual assault will now be expulsion. The previous precedent for sexual assault was suspension for three to six semesters. However, this change does not mean that every student found guilty of sexual misconduct will be expelled because the University does not have any minimum sanction requirements.”

President of Duke Student Government Stefani Jones, who helped change the sanction policy, noted that “In the past, the average sanction for similar offenses has been three to four semesters” including summer “which was really insufficient, considering the severity of the violation,” and “What this does, though, is set the standard for the discussion so that expulsion is essentially the rule and suspension is the exception, rather than the other way around.”

This change comes less than a year after Duke agreed to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault misconduct. Until October of 2012, there was a one-year statute of limitations on cases of sexual misconduct.

These changes are also part of a larger movement in higher education to change sexual assault policies to address growing concerns about rape culture on campuses in light of recent legal challenges to universities across the country. The Duke policy decision comes shortly after it was announced that University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be facing a third investigation into allegations of retaliating against sexual assault survivors.

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Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Advances

On Tuesday, the Texas House of Representatives tentatively passed restrictive abortion bill HB2 in the second special session, two weeks after Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster on SB5. With this vote of 98 to 42, the House approved HB2 which includes multiple abortion restrictions such as a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. The ban does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest, as was proposed in an amendment by Representative Senfronia Thompson.

HB2 also imposes stricter safety regulations on clinics providing abortions, even if they only perform medication abortions. These restrictions would force the closure of all but five of Texas’ abortion clinics due to such requirements as admitting privileges for doctors providing abortions to a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic and regulations that force clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers. The new requirements are in addition to already-present Texan laws for abortion, including parental consent, a 24-hour waiting period, and a mandatory ultrasound that must be shown and described to the person seeking an abortion.

HB2 will come to a final House vote on Wednesday, and then move to the Senate if it passes. The bill has considerable support in the Senate and from Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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Governor Scott Walker Signs Anti-Abortion Bills into Law

On Friday, Governor Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin signed into law a bill that would require all abortion providers to attain hospital admitting privileges. In addition, the law will now require women seeking an abortion to first receive an ultrasound before undergoing the procedure. The law is scheduled to take effect July 8.

The regulations for abortion clinics outlined in the law will decrease access to abortions, closing all clinics in Wisconsin north of Madison, and eliminating access to abortion after 19 weeks throughout the entire state.In addition, women seeking an abortion will be forced to “view an ultrasound” and have a physician or ultrasound technician describe the fetus and its stage of development in detail. For women who are early in a pregnancy, this could mean having to go through a “transvaginal ultrasound“to even view the fetus. There are no provisions in the bill about funding for the mandatory ultrasounds, creating an additional barrier for some women. Supporters of the bill argue that women can find clinics that offer free ultrasounds before their procedures. Many of these clinics are Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) which use medically inaccurate information and religious ideology to pressure women to carry their pregnancies to term.

In response to this newly passed legislation, Wisconsin clinics that currently offer abortion services have filed a lawsuit in federal court against all members of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. They are challenging the law as unconstitutional by arguing that doctors providing abortion services (which have been decried as legal medical procedures by the Supreme Court) will now lack the guarantee of due process within the state.

According to the Guttmacher Institute (, Wisconsin is the 8th state to pass hospital admitting laws for abortion clinics. Guttmacher also found that in the first six months of 2013, state legislatures enacted 106 provisions related to reproductive health, 43 of which restricted access to abortion as many as were passed in all of 2012.

Sources: Guttmacher Institute 7/8/2013, 7/1/2013; Journal Sentinel 7/5/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/13/2013; Senate Bill 206

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New Report Exposes VA Crisis Pregnancy Center Tactics

An investigative study conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has found that Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) in Virginia purposefully use inaccurate medical information and emotional manipulation to dissuade women from receiving abortion care (see study). The study, which was conducted undercover over the course of a year, details the methods used by Virginia’s 58 CPCs to block women from receiving proper medical services, including a two-part sub-report that specifically outlines the medically-inaccurate information given to the pregnant women who receive “treatment” at any of the CPCs.

The study enlisted and trained volunteers who conducted the research both over the phone and with in-person visits. Volunteers learned of common strategies used by CPCs to attract pregnant women, including the use of mainstream review services [PDF] and websites that allowed the CPCs to masquerade as abortion providers. The CPCs avoided any mention of what services are or are not provided in the way of reproductive care on these mediums, and did the same when phoned. CPCs also purposefully establish themselves near university campuses and in urban centers [PDF]. Once a woman enters a center, the CPC volunteers take care to “outlin[e] conception in non-medical and emotional terms,” mislead women about the length of their pregnancies, and place strong emphasis on disproven facts about abortion, such as breast cancer and loss of fertility [PDF].

In addition, the report discusses how recent anti-choice legislation requiring any woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound 24 hours [PDF] before the procedure drives women to seek out care at CPCs which often advertise free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. In a press release, Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, said “No matter how a person feels about abortion, everyone can agree that women should never be misled when seeking information about pregnancy, birth control, abortion, or sexually transmitted infections. Yet not only is this happening in CPCs across the Commonwealth, but the Virginia Department of Health is actually endorsing this dangerous practice. These centers are a threat to women’s health and they must be treated as such “not legitimized by the highest medical institution in the Commonwealth.” NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia offers policy recommendations [PDF] in the study, such as requiring CPCs to obtain pre-certification by the Virginia Department of Health in order to confirm that only medically-accurate information is being given to patients.

For more information on actions you can take to expose CPCS, visit Feminist Campus’ Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics.

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