Friday, March 2, 2012

  • Senate Narrowly Defeats Anti-Contraception Bill as Reproductive Rights Come Under Sustained Attack

    Birth-control-pills

    The U.S. Senate has narrowly rejected an effort to vastly expand conscience exemptions in President Obama’s new birth control coverage rule that already allows exemptions for religiously affiliated institutions. The Blunt Amendment, sponsored by Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, would have let any U.S. employer deny contraceptive health coverage on religious or moral grounds, but it failed in a 51-48 vote largely along partisan lines. "What’s really surprising to me about the Blunt Amendment is that it did not fail 99 to one," says Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "It’s appalling that politicians really think they can get away with restricting birth control." In other reproductive rights news, a Virginia bill mandating ultrasound exams for women seeking abortions has cleared its final legislative hurdle and is expected to be signed into law. "I can’t think of any other area, in the 20 years that I’ve been practicing medicine, where I’ve been forced by the government, someone who has no medical training or background, to use a particular test or to inform a patient about information," notes Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. [includes rush transcript]

  • One Billion Rising: V-Day’s Eve Ensler Launches Global Day of Action, Dance Against Women’s Violence

    Eveensler_buttonframe

    As the debate over reproductive rights rages in the House, and Senate Republicans have tried to thwart the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, we speak with Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day, the global movement to end domestic violence, and the playwright behind "The Vagina Monologues." "The fact is, we have not busted this notion that the father still dominates in his authority over women and children and determines the rights of our lives, determines the rights of our futures and our bodies," Ensler says. "If we’re going to actually free women, which is freeing men, which is allowing everybody a life of dignity and grace, and not walking in fear and terror, we have to go further and be disruptive and be dangerous." Ensler has just launched a new global campaign called "One Billion Rising," which calls on women "and the men who love them" to join together on Feb. 14, 2013, and "dance until the violence stops." Ensler also discusses the first anniversary of the City of Joy, a groundbreaking new community for women survivors of gender violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [includes rush transcript]

  • Despite Rep for Integration, TV’s Iconic "American Bandstand" Kept Black Teens Off Its Stage

    Matthewdelmont

    Last month the pioneering TV broadcaster Don Cornelius died at the age of 75. As the host of "Soul Train," many obituaries described Cornelius as the "African-American Dick Clark," the legendary host of the popular TV show, "American Bandstand," from 1956 to 1989. Clark claimed the show, which was originally hosted in West Philadelphia before moving to Hollywood, was "one of the first integrated shows on national television." But a newly published book challenges this history and reveals new details about how the show discriminated against black youth during its early years. "This is a story about civil rights and about segregation in the North," says Matthew Delmont, author of "The Nicest Kids in Town: American Bandstand, Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia." "They didn’t have a formal policy that said 'no blacks allowed.' ... They had a host of very underhanded techniques they would use to keep black teens off the show." [includes rush transcript]

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