Prop 8 Decision Due Tuesday: The California Supreme Court will announce its decision on Proposition 8 on Tuesday, May 26. The court’s decision will be posted online at 10 a.m.: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme
“If we must reverse Prop. 8 at the ballot, we will do so,” Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a lawyer for couples in the case. “We will win – if not on Tuesday, then one day soon.”
A post-decision event is scheduled for Saturday, May 30. Marriage equality supporters from across California will “Meet in the Middle for Equality” at Fresno City Hall to celebrate or protest the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Standing Up For Her Own: Vogue’s Anna Wintour does her best to fulfill every dreaded stereotype of how fashion magazine editors regard the rest the word.
Ruling Against Tobacco Companies: A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a 2006 court ruling that found cigarette companies deceived consumers for decades about the dangers of smoking (view the decision [pdf]). From the Washington Post:
In a 93-page opinion, a three-judge panel cleared the way for new restrictions on how cigarette companies market and sell their products. Under the decision, the manufacturers will no longer be allowed to label brands “light” or “low tar” and will have to purchase ads on television and in major newspapers that explain the health dangers and addictiveness of their products.
Tobacco companies indicated that they will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, a process that would probably put compliance with the ruling on hold for at least several months.
Vermont Shines Light on Payments to Doctors: The Vermont Legislature has passed the nation’s strictest law (pdf) concerning the relationship between the medical industry and doctors. Under the law, which will take effect July 1 (assuming the governor signs it, as expected), pharmaceutical companies and medical device makers would be required to disclose all money given to physicians and other health care providers. Natasha Singer of The New York Times writes:
The Vermont law promises to provide a window into the considerable efforts and spending by device and drug makers to woo doctors even in a small state.
Makers of medical products spent about $2.9 million in fiscal year 2008 on marketing to health care professionals in Vermont, according to a report last month from the state’s attorney general. Of Vermont’s 4,573 licensed health practitioners, almost half received remuneration, including payments for lectures, meals or lodging from pharmaceutical companies in the 2008 fiscal year, the report said.
“If the drug industry gives $3 million on average for three years now to physicians in a small state like Vermont, what is happening in California and New York?” said Ken Libertoff, director of the Vermont Association for Mental Health, an advocacy group that supported the law.
Plus: Richard A. Friedman, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, writes about the popularity of “sexy blockbuster drugs” that are newer, but not necessarily better, and the effect that drug company marketing has on both patients and physicians.
Midwife Shortage in Mexico: IPS reports on the shortage of professional midwives in Mexico and the training at the only officially accredited Mexican school of midwifery, run by the non-profit Centre for Adolescents of San Miguel de Allende (CASA). Since the school was founded in 1997, 38 professional midwives have graduated; currently, 32 women are being trained.
Violence Against Women – Yawn: “We are so used to violence against women we don’t even notice how used to it we are,” writes Katha Pollitt, in a column on the shooting death of Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Wesleyan University student.
“When we’re not persuading ourselves that women are just as violent toward men as vice versa if you forget about who ends up seriously injured or dead, or pointing out that most murders are of men by men, we persuade ourselves that violence against women just comes up out of nowhere. Murder is serious, especially if the victim is young, white, middle-class, pretty; harassment, abuse, domestic violence, even rape, not so much.” Do go and read the rest.
Student Activists: In her first column as The Plain Dealer’s philanthropy writer, Margaret Bernstein writes about a group of high school girls who are taking on relationship violence. “These girls may not sound like philanthropists, but I think they are. They’re grass-roots philanthropists, using their actions instead of money to spark change.”
Rape Escalates in Eastern Congo: Dominique Soguel reports for Women’s eNews on the worsening sexual violence in the Eastern Congo. “Last week,” she writes, “the Congolese army came under scrutiny from the United Nations and human rights groups for its role in raping, killing and looting sprees during military operations in the two eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.
“Human Rights Watch called on the army to hold accountable soldiers involved in the rape of 143 women and girls, more than half of the 250 rape cases the organization documented in North Kivu.”
Plus: Eve Ensler, writing about the war on women in the Congo, asks: “I was in Bosnia during the war in 1994 when it was discovered there were rape camps where white women were being raped. Within two years there was adequate intervention. Yet, in Congo, femicide has continued for 12 years. Why? [...]
“What is happening in Congo is the most brutal and rampant violence toward women in the world. If it continues to go unchecked, if there continues to be complete impunity, it sets a precedent, it expands the boundaries of what is permissible to do to women’s bodies in the name of exploitation and greed everywhere. It’s cheap warfare.”