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March marks National Women’s History Month, and it really started off with a bang. The Ohio House saw testimony from a 9-week-old fetus, supporting the “Heartbeat Bill,” which would ban abortions after a fetus’s heartbeat can be medically detected. The testimony was delivered via an ultrasound on a pregnant woman, but the testifying fetus’s heartbeat was undetectable.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., an Illinois Democrat, reintroduced the Equal Rights Amendment with support for reproductive freedom. ERA guarantees “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
The White House released a report, Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, of how women are faring in the United States today and how their lives have changed since the last report in 1963. The results:
- Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance, but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a graduate degree.
- Gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.
- Women live longer than men but are more likely to face certain health problems, such as mobility impairments, arthritis, asthma, depression, and obesity.
- Women are less likely than in the past to be the target of violent crimes, including homicide, but women are still victims of crimes such as intimate partner violence and stalking at higher rates than men.
Ohioans showed up in droves Tuesday to protest union-busting state Senate Bill 5, which would effectively remove collective bargaining rights for state employees, criminalize a strike, and endanger domestic partner benefits. The Senate approved S.B. 5 Wednesday, in a 17-16 vote. Hearings on the bill in the House are expected to begin next week.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Westboro Baptist Church, the “God hates fags” group, can picket military funerals under the 1st Amendment. In an 8-1 vote, the justices indicated the organization has the right to promote a broad-based message on public affairs, such as war.
An anti-bullying bill — that would prohibit bullying based on a student’s sexual orientation, race or religion — is currently stalled in the Kentucky House. GOP Rep. Mike Harmon has filed an amendment to the bill that would allow students to condemn other students’ sexualities as long as that expression of a religious belief does not include physical harm or damaging property.
From the Archives: 9-year-old plans marriage equality rally