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Today’s Lady News: How The Health Care Law That Goes Into Effect Today Will Help Women

  • Portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — i.e., the new health care reform law — go into effect today, including several that will affect women and girls. Beginning today, health care plans must offer preventative screenings and counseling without charging out-of-pocket costs. (Birth control, however, is not considered a “preventative service” for some reason.) Also, health insurers can no longer to refuse to sell policies for kids with “pre-existing conditions.” All Americans will get this benefit in 2014. [Washington Post]
  • Sarah Palin has hinted at a presidential run, saying she will throw her hat in the ring if other Republican candidates don’t step up. It’s neither a confirmation nor a denial, really. [ABC News]
  • A male politician in Indonesia asks, “Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?” He then suggests girls should undergo virginity testing before they’re allowed access to public education. [Feministing]

  • The Burris Amendment, which would have lifted the ban on abortions being performed at military bases, was tabled in the same defense authorization bill on Tuesday that included the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” [Huffington Post]
  • Iowa politicians are signing on to the “50/50 in 2020″ project, which seeks to recruit enough female candidates to fill half of the state legislature. (Presently, it is only 23 percent comprised of women.) A nonpartisan group of seven Democrats and seven Republicans will host a Blueprint for Winning academy to teach women how to fundraise and campaign. [Telegraph-Herald Online]
  • First Lady Michelle Obama will headline nine different fundraisers at six states over the next few months, as her popularity surpasses the president’s in the polls. [Black Voices]
  • Lactivists — breastfeeding activists — are boycotting Old Navy because the store sells a $5 onesie for babies which says “Formula Powered” with a picture of a bottle. [Babble.com]
  • Lesbian MCs speak up about rapper Nicki Minaj, who seems to tool how she discusses her sexuality based on which magazine she is doing an interviewing with. [AfterEllen.com]

INTERNATIONAL

  • Mexico is cracking down on illegal abortions. Terminating a pregnancy, except in cases of rape or to save the life of the mother, is against the law everywhere but Mexico City. [New York Times]
  • The Afghan National Army graduated 29 women today, the first female military officers since the 1980s when the Taliban started to take control. [AOL News]
  • The Women’s League president of the African National Congress in South Africa is reviving its gender committee after sexist comments have been made by male politicians. One male politician suggested one of his female colleagues was sleeping with men in her cabinet and another male politician called the woman a “little girl.” [The South African Star]
  • Eileen Nearne, 89, a World War II vet who was a spy for “Churchill’s secret army” and helped the French resistance against the Nazis, passed away earlier this month. Nearne was arrested by the Gestapo in the summer of 1994 and sent to a concentration camp but survived. Her life story is kind of incredible and I highly recommend reading it! [New York Times]
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