US effort to remove sexual health from UN agreement may violate law, say senators

Trump administration may have violated Siljander amendment by lobbying to remove protections, four Democrats said in letter The Trump administration may have violated federal law by lobbying more than 70 countries to remove protections for sexual and reproductive health from a UN agreement, according to a letter from four US senators seen by the Guardian. The letter from the senators, all high-ranking Democrats, focuses on an effort from the Trump administration to could not accept a resolution on women, peace and security because it included references to previous resolutions that included this phrase. Removing language about sexual and reproductive health from international agreements has been a longtime goal of ultra-conservative religious organisations. The Trump administration, which relies on a base …

Head of Planned Parenthood Ousted After Secret Meeting

Planned Parenthood President and CEO Leana Wen said she was fired Tuesday, less than one year into her tenure, at what she called a secret meeting of the board of directors. In a statement, Wen said she and the board had philosophical differences about the direction and future of the womens health organization, adding that they were engaged in good faith negotiations about her departure when the ouster was announced. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood denied that the meeting was secret. A source familiar with the situation said Wen had been in discussions with the board for months and was well aware the meeting was taking place, though she was not permitted to attend. The organization said in a statement …

Use of male mice skews drug research against women, study finds

Male animal bias is unjustified and can lead to drugs that work less well for women The male mind is rational and orderly while the female one is complicated and hormonal. It is a stereotype that has skewed decades of neuroscience research towards using almost exclusively male mice and other laboratory animals, according to a new study. Scientists have typically justified excluding female animals from experiments even when studying conditions that are more likely to affect women on the basis that fluctuating hormones would render the results uninterpretable. However, according to Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, in Boston, it is entirely unjustified by scientific evidence, which shows that, if anything, the hormones and behaviour of male rodents are …

Abortion clinics report ‘alarming’ rise in picketing, vandalism and trespassing

Last year, trespassing hit highest level since 1999 while vandalism occurred at highest rate since 1990 US abortion providers reported an alarming escalation in incidents of disruption and intimidation in 2018, according to new recently enacted ban on abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy; civil liberties and reproductive rights organizations filed a signed a ban on abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of President Trump, Vice President Pence and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services, said Katherine Ragsdale, interim president and CEO of NAF, in a statement. Trump and other politicians …