Anti-abortion bills in Oklahoma

As reported here, 5 bills are proposed that would place restrictions on access to abortion:

One bill would force women to have an ultrasound of the foetus less than an hour before the abortion. A probe would be introduced into her vagina, with a doctor required to describe what was seen in the ultrasound to the patient.

Another bill places an obligation on doctor and patient to fill out a questionnaire with 38 questions about the woman, including her age, race, marital status, education, number of pregnancies including miscarriages and abortions, and reason for the termination

The three other bills would make abortion clinics display signs saying that women cannot be forced to have abortions; stop women issuing “wrongful life” lawsuits where it is argued that a child born with defects should have been aborted; and introduce a further barrier to stop the state’s new insurance scheme, set up under Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms, from covering abortions

More details on this here (including the confusing claim from an Oklahoma City senator that the aim is to “Protect life and give a voice to those who don’t have it.”)

RIP US Civil Rights Pioneer Dorothy Height

An  important, but not well know  figure who tried to unify the fight for African Americans’ rights and women’s rights, she was 98. 

The NY Times:

Originally trained as a social worker, Ms. Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women from 1957 to 1997, overseeing a range of programs on issues like voting rights, poverty and in later years AIDS. A longtime executive of the Y.W.C.A., she presided over the integration of its facilities nationwide in the 1940s.

With Gloria Steinem, Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan and others, she helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971. Over the decades, she advised a string of American presidents on civil rights.

If Ms. Height was less well known than her contemporaries in either the civil rights or women’s movement, it was perhaps because she was doubly marginalized, pushed offstage by women’s groups because of her race and by black groups because of her sex. Throughout her career, she responded quietly but firmly, working with a characteristic mix of limitless energy and steely gentility to ally the two movements in the fight for social justice.

As a result, Ms. Height is widely credited as the first person in the modern civil rights era to treat the problems of equality for women and equality for African-Americans as a seamless whole, merging concerns that had been largely historically separate.


From CNN:

Women Wait Longer

Longer wait times for women at coffee shops might be annoying but morally insignificant (see, but longer wait times to see a medical specialist matter. A recent report by Statistics Canada shows that Canadian women were less likely than men to see a medical specialist within a month, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. The agency’s report, Waiting time for medical consultations in Canada, 2007, is based on 5,515 people aged 15 or older who said they’d consulted a specialist about a new condition in the previous 12 months and reported a waiting. In the report, Carrière and co-author Claudia Sanmartin of the department’s health analysis division in Ottawa noted women were significantly less likely than men to see a specialist within a month. The report notes that gender wasn’t the only variable that made a difference. For men, the analysts said, wait times were longer for those who had lower household incomes. The researchers also found that among men, the odds of seeing a specialist within a month were twice as high for those who had immigrated more than 10 years earlier than for those born in Canada. Read more here.


This is everything we could have wanted from the NEH in terms of response. (As of yesterday, there had only been private emails to those who wrote letters to the NEH.)

The National Endowment for the Humanities has apologized to a grant recipient who was told by the director of an NEH-financed seminar in Europe that she had 12 hours to demonstrate that she had adequate child care arrangements in place for her son or she would lose her spot. The plight of the woman, a single mother, was first reported on the blog Feminist Philosophers and then spread elsewhere online. When Inside Higher Ed asked the NEH about the situation last week, officials said that they would investigate, but that the situation as described was not consistent with endowment policies.

An NEH spokeswoman, via e-mail, said Tuesday that the investigation by the endowment determined that the report “was, unfortunately, true. NEH has accepted full responsibility and apologized to the professor involved. We believe we are in the process of resolving the issue to her satisfaction. We have assured her that she is welcome to attend the institute to which she applied and, at her request, we have also extended the deadline to make it possible for her to apply for another seminar if she so chooses.” The spokeswoman added: “Asking an applicant to provide information regarding child care was inappropriate and should have had no bearing on the selection process. Qualified applicants who tell the NEH that they will participate full time in our programs should be taken at their word. We erred and are determined that it will not happen again.”

Victory feels good.