Taylor and Melania

We Must Offer Black Women The Same Protections We Offer White Women

By now, the world has heard at length about the gaffes of two very famous white women this week. Taylor Swift was exposed on Snapchat by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for lying about approving Kanye’s lyrics in his song “Famous.” Melania Trump, the wife of the Republican nominee for president, apparently lifted part of her Republican National Convention Speech from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. These two instances are part of a larger history of white women and public victimhood in the United States.

Abortion Decision

Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Anti-Abortion Bill

In a 5-3 ruling on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court struck down Texas HB2, a bill that heavily regulated abortion providers and resulted in the closure of half of the state’s clinics. The Court determined that requiring clinics to qualify as surgery centers and ensuring abortion doctors have hospital admitting privileges at local hospitals places an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.

Depression

U.S. Suicide Rates Are On The Rise Across the Board

A report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has found that, between 1999 and 2014, suicide rates for pretty much every demographic in the United States have been on the rise, with black men being the exception. The study looked at statistics for deaths considered to be suicides for people from the ages of 10 to 74, according to CNN.

Overall, suicide rates in the U.S. are their highest in 30 years. 

Nigeria Outlaws Female Genital Mutilation

 

goodluck jonathan

Nigeria’s outgoing president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed an anti-female genital mutilation (FGM) bill into law last week.

According to UNICEF, 25% of Nigerian women between the ages of 15–49 have been subjected to FGM.  The Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act will protect against FGM as well as other discriminatory practices including throwing spouses out of the home, and traditions that discriminate against widows.

Read more.

Photo: Goodluck Jonathan/Twitter

Despite Law, Imprisoned Mothers Still Shackled While Giving Birth

prison

From the Guardian:

Imagine being pregnant and going into labor. Now imagine having handcuffs around your wrists attached to a chain, leading to a chain wrapped around your waist. Another chain leads from your waist to your feet, where cuffs keep them only inches apart. This is a practice known as shackling.

Across the United States, prison policy dictates that people be shackled whenever they are transported outside the prison. Many states make no exceptions for women in labor, childbirth or postpartum recovery.

In 2009, after extended advocacy and lobbying from prisoner rights organizations, New York passed legislation that bans the use of restraints on women during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery. It largely bans the use of shackles on women who are taken to the hospital for a caesarean section or to be induced, as well as when women are returning to the prison from the hospital. But shackling continues to be a common reality for mothers who give birth while in New York state’s prison system.

Maria Caraballo was five months pregnant when she arrived at Bedford Hills, New York’s maximum-security prison for women. In February 2010, nine days after her due date, she was taken to Westchester Medical to be induced. She had learned about the anti-shackling law the month before and, as officers prepared to place her in the van, she told them it was against the law to shackle her. “You have no choice,” she said the officers told her. “If you refuse we’re going to write you up.”

Read more at the Guardian