Category - Global Women’s Issues

Alone in Alabama: dispatches from an inmate jailed for her son’s stillbirth

Since becoming one of a growing number of women in the state sentenced for ‘chemical endangerment’, Amanda Kimbrough has sent letters from prison

The Guardian, By Ed Pilkington, October 7

New York – On 29 April last year Amanda Kimbrough sat down in her cell inside the notoriously tough Tutwiler women’s prison in Wetumpka, Alabama, and began writing a letter in which she described her feelings of loss and remorse. It was a poignant moment, as six years earlier to the day her only son Timmy had been born prematurely and had died from complications at birth after only 19 minutes.

“Tim Jr would be six years old [today],” she wrote, “and not a day goes by I don’t think of him. While I was out we keep his grave decorated and kept up, my husband and family do while I’m here.”

That Kimbrough – Alabama offender 287089, as the state branded her – should be thinking of her son on the anniversary of his death needs no explanation. But the poignancy of the letter is heightened by the knowledge that it was because of Timmy’s stillbirth at 25 weeks that she was locked up in the first place.


Later, the profound legal issues raised by the case would rise up through appeals all the way to the Alabama supreme court, the highest judicial panel in the state, where it would set a new precedent. In effect, it renders all pregnant women vulnerable to prosecution for any harm they might cause their fetus at any time after the moment of conception.

ProPublica: Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail

Amnesty International approves policy supporting decriminalization of sex trade

AP, August 12

London – Amnesty International approved a controversial policy Tuesday to endorse the de-criminalization of the sex trade, rejecting complaints from some women’s rights groups who say it is tantamount to advocating the legalization of pimping and brothel owning.

At its decision-making forum in Dublin, the human rights watchdog approved the resolution to recommend “full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.” It argues its research suggests decriminalization is the best way to defend sex workers’ human rights.

“We recognize that this critical human rights issue is hugely complex and that is why we have addressed this issue from the perspective of international human rights standards,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “We also consulted with our global movement to take on board different views from around the world.”

Vatican forever bars woman who bared breasts

Grabbed baby Jesus statue

Thomson Reuters, December 27

Vatican City – The Vatican said it had arrested a member of women’s rights group Femen who on Christmas Day bared her breasts and grabbed a statue of the baby Jesus from a nativity scene in front of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

Femen’s website says the woman was protesting as part of its anti-clerical “Massacre of the Innocents” campaign contesting religions’ “maniacal desire to control women’s fertility”.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Friday that Ukrainian citizen Iana Aleksandrovna Azhdanova was being detained and questioned by a Vatican judge. On Saturday, the Vatican said she had been released and was forbidden to return to the Holy See.

He said she was accused of vilification of religion, obscene acts in public, and theft. He said her action “offended the religious feelings of many people”.

US Supreme Court blocks Texas abortion restrictions

Guardian – The US Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America’s second most-populous state.

In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an October 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule that would force abortion clinics statewide to spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

A men-only UN conference on gender equality? If only it was a joke

(The Guardian) How do you feel about the fact that Iceland is holding a conference on gender equality, feminism and sexual violence – without a single female invitee? “It will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only men leaders to discuss gender equality,” Iceland’s foreign minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, announced to the UN last week.

Monday Misogyny

Steph Harman : ““When I heard Julia Gillard’s parliamentary speech addressing misogyny, it struck me that behind the politics there was a lot of personal feeling being communicated,” writes composer Rob Davidson, in the description which accompanies this delicious treat. “I wanted to put a frame around this slice of time, to heighten my perception of what was being said behind the words, in the intonation of the voice, and in the dynamics of what was being said in interjections and reactions.” The resulting piece, performed by award winning The Australian Voices, is called ’Not Now, Not Ever’.”

#JuliaGillard #Australia #Feminism #Misogyny

Nice try Republicans, but marriage isn’t the solution to poverty

If conservatives want to help the poor they should improve education, cut inequality, and ensure access to contraception.

The Guardian (Comment is free), By Jill Filipovic, January 30

It’s time for marriage promotion programs to die.

The first problem is that they don’t actually convince people to get married; nor do they get fathers to spend more time with their children, make children more emotionally secure, encourage parents to stay together or make families more financially stable. The second is that, contrary to right-wing narratives, marriage doesn’t fix poverty – yet those same conservatives demand that the federal government continue to funnel money into failed marriage promotion programs, and even encourage politicians to curb reproductive rights to force couples into marrying. It’s bad policy stacked on bad policy, with women and their children being made the primary victims.
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Pope Francis – Marxist in Disguise?

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

It is not surprising that Rush Limbaugh, spiritual leader of the Republican Party – the man who determines Republican ideology and who enforces obedience to orthodoxy within the party – now finds Pope Francis a “Marxist”.  Pope Francis, spiritual leader to over one billion Catholics, has issued a direct assault on the Rush Limbaugh’s of this world, their paymasters in the business and financial community, and their political lackeys such as Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Stephen Harper, David Cameron, Shinzo Abe, Tony Abbott, and Li Keqiang.  “I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere, effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world!”  Francis put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, and he could have said “give us just one politician” rather than “more politicians”, because it is clear when you read his pastoral exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospels), that none of the men or women in positions of power over today’s global economy qualifies as a healer of anything or anybody.

Political leaders come and go, but men like Rush Limbaugh seem to linger forever.  What is it about Pope Francis that makes Limbaugh see shades of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao?  Could it possibly be criticisms such as these:

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