Australian Parliament Moves to Make RU-486 Available
An effective ban on RU-486 in Australia ended this week when the Australian House of Representatives passed a bill to remove Health Minister Tony Abbot's veto over the drug. The vote concurs with an earlier Senate decision. Decisions regarding mifepristone will now rest with the country’s main drug regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which is expected to make the drug available in Australia within the year.
Lawmakers voted independent of their parties in a rare “conscience vote,” spurred by a cross-party coalition of women MPs in support of RU-486. Only 27 conscience votes have been held in Australian history – the last was held four years ago.
The debate over RU-486 was deeply divisive, pitting Prime Minister John Howard, who favored RU-486’s distribution, against his chosen successor, Treasurer Peter Costello. Feminist Majority Foundation Medical Director Beth Jordan, MD, testified before Community Affairs Committee of the Australian Senate in support of the legalization of mifepristone in Australia and said "Medical abortion should be made widely and easily available to the women and men of Australia for safe, effective and early abortion as well as for compassionate use purposes for patients with health-threatening conditions."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily News 2/10/06; Bloomberg 2/15/06; New Zealand Herald 2/16/06
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. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .