Congress Approves Spending Bill With Abortion Restrictions
With the president’s signature expected any day, the US Congress approved the fiscal year 2003 $397.4 billion omnibus spending bill last week with several anti-women measures - including continued bans on federal spending for abortions. The House voted 338-83 to approve the much debated spending bill, while the Senate voted 76-20. Several Democrats complained that the 3,000-page bill was rushed through both chambers with many claiming that they did not know what they were voting on, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Although the Senate approved a version of the bill late last month that omitted the abortion bans, both chambers last week approved the version with the restrictions after the White House sent a letter to Congress that threatened a presidential veto of any bill that did not limit abortion spending.
Included in the final version of the bill is a ban on coverage of abortion procedures for the approximately 8 million women in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman is in danger, according to Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Reports. In addition, the bill also bars abortions from being performed in the federal Bureau of Prisons system except in rape cases and when the life of the woman is in danger, Kaiser reports. Both measures will extend current law.
The bill includes an extra $10 billion for national security, a significant increase in funding for abstinence education and $34 million for UNFPA international family programs. Bush will likely withhold the UNFPA funds as he did last year, even after his own investigative team found that reports of UNFPA support for forced abortions in China were false. The US contribution makes up 13 percent of the total funding for UNFPA’s international family planning programs – and enables UNFPA to prevent two million unwanted pregnancies, 4,700 maternal deaths, nearly 60,000 cases of maternal illnesses and over 77,000 cases of infant and child death each year.
12/12/2013 Feminist Majority Celebrates Introduction of Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) - WASHINGTON -- Feminist Majority today celebrates and applauds Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for introducing the critically-needed paid family medical leave legislation.
The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) will allow workers to take paid time off to address a serious illness of their own, a spouse, parent or child or to care for a new baby or adopted child. . . .
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .