Australian Legislators Fight Deceptive Pregnancy Counseling Centers
Legislators in Australia are working to pass a bill that would require pregnancy counseling centers to make their positions on abortion clear in order to not mislead women seeking abortions. A government report released earlier this month found that some pregnancy centers are giving women false information about the risks of abortion, or telling women they are “sinful” if they have an abortion, according to Australia’s News.com. In one such case, a father of a raped daughter called a pregnancy counseling hotline looking for an abortion clinic and was told that he was “ ‘nothing but a bloody murderer’,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The bill, introduced by Democrats Senator Natasha Scott Despoja, is reminiscent of US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s “Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services” Act, which, like its Australian counterpart, seeks to require pregnancy centers to comply with trade and commerce rules prohibiting false advertising, according to the Courier-Mail.
Meanwhile, the Australian legislature is considering a $50 million bill that would create a Pregnancy Hotline and a Medicare rebate for pregnancy-related counseling after Health Minister Tony Abbott said that the abortion rate in Australia too high, the Courier-Mail reports. Abbott earlier this year vetoed the use of RU-486 for early medical abortions, a decision that was overruled by the Australian legislature.
The Australian Medical Association has expressed concern that the Medicare rebate plan does not protect women’s privacy – under the bill, pregnancy counseling would be assigned a specific number that would be visible not only to doctors but to anyone who would see the Medicare account, such as payment processors and pharmacists, the News.com reports. Lack of privacy is already causing young women seeking abortions to travel far outside of their local towns to access abortion services in Melbourne, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Media Resources: Courier-Mail 8/27/06; Australian Broadcasting Corporation 8/17/06, 8/14/06; News.com 8/10/06, 8/2/06
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. . . .