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Today’s Lady News: Birth Control For Everybody!

  • Health insurers will be required to offer birth control without co-pays under the new health care reform laws after August 1, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services announced today. The Institute of Medicine, an independent panel of doctors, released a report last month which said preventative health care for women should be covered and named birth control, STD screening, and HPV testing, among others, as the best practices. Despite pushback from religious groups, the HHS took their suggestions to heart. In a press release, HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius noted “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.” This is exciting! [CNN.com]
  • A federal judge has ruled that Kansas must resume giving federal funding to Planned Parenthood, arguing that the law defunding the state’s clinics is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten said the law seemed to be designed to punish Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions. [Washington Post]
  • Christina Norman, the former CEO of Oprah’s network, OWN, is now headed to AOL/Huffington Post to run the blog Black Voices. [Clutch Magazine]
  • Male federal judges outnumber female federal judges by three to one, according to statistics on UScourts.gov. Yeah, even super-bajillionaire Judge Judy doesn’t make that kind of disparity OK. [Think Progress]
  • A New York couple is accused of firing their housekeeper, Anastacia St. Claire-Hannah, after they learned she is a transgender woman. Thompson and Caroline Dean allegedly told their maid she was “disgusting” and a “freak” and she could no longer work for the family because it would damage their image. [Queerty]
  • Meet Allie Sakowicz, a 17-year-old doula who helps teen moms with childbirth in Chicago. She’s the youngest person ever to be certified by the professional doula association! [Oprah.com via Feministing]
  • Here’s some unsolicited advice for women’s professional soccer from my college pal Kate Goldwater. [Feministe]
  • Polly Platt, a Hollywood producer, production designer and screenwriter, died last week at age 72. Platt was nominated for an Oscar for art direction on “Terms of Endearment” and wrote the screenplay for “Pretty Baby,” the controversial film starring Brooke Shields as a child prostitute. [New York Times]

INTERNATIONAL

  • Oh joy: Uganda’s bill to make homosexuality punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment may be reintroduced in the country’s Parliament in August. [Think Progress]
  • This article on pregnancy and maternal health in Uganda is heartbreaking and reminds me of the health care I take for granted here in the U.S. [New York Times]
  • Why has ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s wife, the French journalist Anne Sinclair, stuck by his side even though he is accused of sexually assaulting a New York City hotel maid? [New York Magazine]
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