To be completely honest, it frustrates me that I have so much material to write about.  A lot has happened lately in the world of women’s issues, and I wanted to touch on those without overloading the homepage with updates and tangents – so, very a-la-Upworthy, here are today’s Handmaid Headlines.

1. The U.N. defines birth control as a human right

The headline says it all – the U.N. now declares that access to birth control is now a basic human right which should be preserved in order to improve living conditions for women and children in various countries.  Furthermore, they make the claim that “legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s rights.” [Source: http://times247.com/articles/u-n-defines-birth-control-human-right%5D  You could make the argument that politicians who strive to override Obamacare’s addendum to have employers provide contraception are in direct violation of human rights and the US would receive a human rights warning.  This is awesome and a giant leap for womankind – the only problem is that member nations of the U.N. have a rich history of ignoring U.N. decrees with minimal penalties.  And the decree itself cannot have any affect on national laws, so there’s that…

2. Petition: Include ALL women in the Violence Against Women Act

Just this past May, the GOP passed a bill which would reform the Violence Against Women Act from 1994.  The White House, the Democratic party and other people have made a lot of noise in protest because the 2012 VAWA evidently does not do enough to protect LBGT women, Native American women, and immigrant women.  Some conservatives also oppose the bill, but on the grounds that the bill promotes the kind of feminism that leads to “divorce and man-hating.”  Evidently this bill was met with some delay a few months later, and is still being hotly debated.  We don’t know if the bill will wind up on the President’s desk, but there is a petition to reform the bill to be more inclusive.  If you want to sign, they are pretty close to their goal – click on the title above if you want to sign.

And here, we have a real-life example of the reality of banning abortion; Savita Halappanavar, an Indian woman who went to the hospital in the midst of a miscarriage, was denied an emergency abortion and wound up dying hours later due to the resulting blood poisoning.  The fetus passed away before Savita did, and thus ended two lives when one could have been saved.  Evidently, Savita and her husband were told they could not do an emergency abortion because they were in “a Catholic country.”  I know that most of the abortion debate in the US at least leaves the exception of rape, incest, and when the woman’s life is in danger, such as Savita’s case.  But the problem here is that a religious hang-up prevented doctors from delivering life-saving medical care since a woman’s life was less important to them than following the rules of their religion.  This sort of event, while tragic and appalling, gives us some strange and twisted insight into the reality of the religious populace constantly getting their way.  Let us hope that with our votes, protests, and petitions this event will not repeat itself on our soil.

Michael Calleri, a foreign correspondent who wrote for the  Niagara Falls Reporter, here tells the story about how a staffing change at his former publication resulted in sexism, racism, and the like permeating the pages of the newspaper.  Calleri, as a film critic, was able to distance himself, until he noticed his reviews were being censored.  He was finally sent an email from the new owner who told him that he would not run any reviews that glamorize movies that have a strong female lead, as this threatens his idea of traditional gender roles and old-fashioned masculinity.  Evidently, Snow White and the Huntsman is simply too progressive for the Niagara Falls Reporter.  Check out the insane email in the article above – no holds barred, unadulterated misogyny is alive and kicking, make no mistake.

And, sadly, that’s part of our world tonight.

“What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. …otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be.”
-Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
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