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General Forced to Retire Over Sex Assault Case

An Army general who was found to have mishandled an accusation of sexual assault has been forced to retire with a reduced rank, the Defense Department said on Wednesday.

An internal inquiry last year concluded that the officer, Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison, did not properly investigate accusations against a colonel under his command, did not remove the colonel from his position of authority, and failed to treat the accuser “with dignity, respect, fairness and consistency.”

As a result, the secretary of the Army, John. M. McHugh, has ordered General Harrison, a two-star general, to retire as a one-star brigadier general. Last year, General Harrison, the top United States Army commander in Japan, was suspended from his duties.

“Under federal law, officers retire at the highest grade in which they have served satisfactorily, and the secretary of the Army has the responsibility to make retirement grade determinations for all officers,” an Army spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Alayne P. Conway, said in a written statement. “In this case, the secretary determined that Maj. Gen. Harrison’s highest grade of satisfactory service was as a brigadier general.”

Reports of sexual assault have increased significantly in recent years, and Pentagon leaders, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, have promised to crack down on abusers and commanders who do not adequately investigate accusations.

Reporting by the New York Times.

The Silent Shame of HPV: HPV is the most common STD in America, but we still aren’t talking about it. Part of it is the shame associated with the virus, and part of it is the lack of education.

The Silent Shame of HPV: HPV is the most common STD in America, but we still aren’t talking about it. Part of it is the shame associated with the virus, and part of it is the lack of education.

Affinity Community Services hosts a public policy panel on LGBTQ issues, marriage equality, access to health care and reproductive justice. This program was recorded by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion

Almost 40 percent of the world’s population lives in countries, primarily in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Persian Gulf, where abortion is either banned or severely restricted. The World Health Organization estimated in 2008 that 21.6 million unsafe abortions took place that year worldwide, leading to about 47,000 deaths. To reduce that number, W.H.O. put mifepristone and misoprostol on its Essential Medicines list. The cost of the combination dose used to end a pregnancy varies from less than $5 in India to about $120 in Europe. (Misoprostol is also used during labor and delivery to prevent postpartum hemorrhage, and global health groups have focused on making it more available in countries with high rates of maternal mortality, including Kenya, Tanzania, India, Nepal, Cambodia, and South Africa.) Gomperts told me that Women on Web receives 2,000 queries each month from women asking for help with medical abortions. (The drugs are widely advertised on the Internet, but it is difficult to tell which sites are scams.)

Responding to the 22-year-old woman in Brazil, Renata — a 54-year-old artist who moved to Amsterdam from South America 26 years ago and who asked me to use only her first name because of the controversial nature of her work — wrote to ask how far along she was in her pregnancy. Women on Web will open a new case only if a woman is less than nine weeks pregnant, to ensure time for delivery of the medication before the end of the first trimester. In filling out the online consultation Women on Web provides, the woman in Brazil dated her pregnancy at seven weeks. She reported no signs of an ectopic pregnancy — a condition that, while rare, can be fatal and cannot be treated with a medical abortion.

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This Week in Reproductive Justice

This Week in Reproductive Justice is a weekly round-up of what is happening in reproductive rights, reproductive health, and other topics related to reproductive justice. Compiled by Teddy Wilson, a reporter who covers reproductive rights for RH Reality Check. Follow him on Twitter: @txindyjourno

The events that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri, in recent weeks have revealed many tragedies, among them the fact that the death of so many youth of color in this country is still debatable in its status as a vaunted “feminist issue.” But it is, and the expansive definition of reproductive justice, which reaches into the universe of conditions necessary to create and sustain life, shows us how.

A recent report by the Girl Scouts Research Institute shows that the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic are the best regions of the United States to raise girls, while the South – specifically Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia – is the worst.

The Arkansas gubernatorial race features one firmly anti-choice candidate, and one with a vacillating stance on abortion rights.

Nearly all of the abortion clinics in Ohio are operating with expired licenses because the state health department hasn’t approved or denied their annual applications.

Reproductive rights advocates filed a new federal lawsuit challenging a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers in the state to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Rogue abortion provider Dr. Steven C. Brigham may permanently lose his ability to legally practice medicine after a New Jersey judge recommended a permanent revocation of his medical privileges.

The Obama administration announced new rules for religiously affiliated nonprofits that object to complying with the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act.

Can fracking operations cause health problems or birth defects in babies who are born near wells? Preliminary scientific research says that it might and that more research needs to be done as oil and gas production booms across the country.

Both the California Senate and assembly unanimously passed a bill last week significantly restricting the sterilization of state prison inmates.

The National Institutes of Health awarded an R01 grant totaling $19.3 million to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Department of Biostatistics at UAB to conduct a study of chronic hypertension in pregnancy.

Africa’s population will reach four billion by 2100, according to a report released by UNICEF early this week. As the population grows, more investment in maternal health and family planning resources will be needed to ensure women’s reproductive health.

In the Philippines, amid a population explosion and staggering birth rate, caused partly by limited access to contraception or family planning advice, PBS NewsHour follows mothers and newborns from one of the busiest maternity wards in the world to the overcrowded slums where families live.

The new India national health policy being brought out by the government will address the rising incidents of reproductive illnesses in young urban women

The Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia says the government has identified increased awareness on reproductive health services as a key intervention to reducing maternal deaths by nearly 30 percent.

A recent study has shown that the Zambian health system would save up to $611,046 per year if each woman treated for a complication of unsafe abortion had instead accessed safe termination services.

Photo: Artwork by Mary Engelbreit


Spanish city hall gets wrapped in bras after mayor makes offensive comments

The city hall building in the Spanish city of Valladolid has been wrapped around with bras — and it’s pretty amazing.

The dramatic display of undergarments was carried out Monday after hundreds of people converged on the building and chained bras to its pillars. The evocative protest was in response to highly sexist and insensitive comments recently by the city’s mayor, Francisco Javier León de la Riva,

This is rape culture at its worst Follow micdotcom 

Nebraska Attorney General Has Close Relationship With Extreme Anti-Choice Group

Americans United for Life, the extreme anti-choice bill mill, seems to have been particularly worried by the Women’s Health Protection Act, which was debated in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this summer.

Intended to block many of the anti-choice laws that have been passed in recent years, the bill has virtually no hope of passing the Republican-controlled House, and is seen by many pro-choice advocates as largely symbolic.

Yet, in an email sent to Nebraska’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, AUL Nebraska’s state director, Suzanne Gage, struck an alarmist tone.

The bill “would eliminate virtually all pro-life laws in the country if enacted,” Gage wrote in July 9 email to Katie Spohn and David Cookson, two of Bruning’s senior staff.

“Senator Grassley is the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he has requested support from Attorney Generals [sic] in drafting letters opposing this legislation,” Gage continued. “I realize this is last minute, but would Mr. Bruning be willing to draft such a letter addressed to Sen. Grassley expressing his concern about how this bill would affect Nebraska? We could get it into his hands if sent to us by COB Monday.”

Bruning never did write such a letter, according to a spokesperson. And Grassley’s office did not immediately respond to our requests for confirmation of his role in this effort.

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GOP Senate candidates mum on birth control mandate change

Republican Senate candidates are staying silent on President Obama’s latest changes to the birth control coverage mandate, even as the policy catches flak from the religious right.  

Top GOP hopefuls haven’t weighed in on the issue since Friday, when the administration announced new measures meant to accommodate religious groups and businesses owners who object to their insurance covering birth control. 

Republican Senate candidates failed to jump on the announcement that day, and a dozen campaigns reached individually this week all declined to comment. 

The lack of response reveals would-be GOP senators’ extreme caution as they approach the birth control debate at this point in the election cycle. 

While lawmakers in safe seats freely expressed their disappointment alongside outside groups, GOP candidates involved in tough races have, so far, declined to join the debate. 

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