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窓 論説委員室から アフガンの女性議員枠 (朝日 2005/09/02夕刊)
米上院、6日から最高裁判事の承認審議 (日本経済 2005/09/02)
’０５衆院選：小選挙区候補の横顔 ３区 (毎日・茨城版 2005/09/02朝刊)
◇同じ障害持つ人たちと－－猿田玲 ２７ 社新
候補者の横顔 茨城３区 (読売・茨城版 2005/09/02朝刊) ♪写真は省略
【猿田玲 社民 新】
取手市内で姉と暮らす。高校、大学と合気道に打ち込み、体力には自信がある。好きな言葉は「ｔｏ ｂｅ ｉｎｄｉｖｉｄｕａｌ」（個となること）。
（2005年9月2日 読売新聞）衆議院総選挙：FtMTGの猿田玲さん、正式に立候補 / Trans Man Saruta Runs for House of Representatives
米カリフォルニア州議会上院、同性婚合法化法案可決 下院へ 1のつづき
R E L A T E D L I N K S
• Read the text of AB-849 on same-sex marriages (PDF)
Posted on Thu, Sep. 01, 2005
State Senate passes gay marriage bill
HISTORIC VOTE COMES AFTER IMPASSIONED DEBATE
By Kate Folmar and Andrew LaMar
San Jose Mercury News Sacramento Bureau
SACRAMENTO - In a ground-breaking vote, the Senate today narrowly approved a bill allowing gay couples to wed in California -- becoming the first legislative body to do so without court intervention.
In more than an hour of impassioned debate, senators invoked God, the founding fathers and the civil rights movement before passing AB 849 on 21-15 vote. All of the yes votes were cast by Democrats. One Democrat, Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter, voted no along with most Republicans. Four lawmakers abstained.
``Lesbians and gay men should not fight this battle alone,'' said Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont, before the vote. ``Equality is equality -- period.''
Allowing gay couples to wed, just like everyone else, ``unchains a community that has contributed to this state since its inception,'' said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, one of the Legislature's six openly gay members.
Bill opponents, however, said most Californians do not support gay marriages and that they do not contribute to healthy families.
Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula, said the best environment for children is a family with one man and one woman.
``I don't think there is a member in this chamber who doesn't somewhere -- either readily on the surface, or somewhere deep down inside -- know that this is not the right thing to do,'' he said.
California already confers many of the rights and duties of marriage on gay couples, who can register as domestic partners. Massachusetts became the first state to recognize gay marriages when the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex weddings there in 2003.
Several senators equated the struggle for gay marriage to other civil rights movements. They said arguments against the bill were similar to earlier arguments in support of slavery and opposing interracial marriage.
``This is probably the most profound civil rights movement of our generation, without a doubt,'' said Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough.
Gay rights advocates called Thursday's California vote historic.
``It will make all California families safer and more secure if it becomes law,'' said Seth Kilbourn, director of the Human Rights Campaign Marriage Project in New York. ``The fact they debated and voted on this relatively quickly today sends a message that there is momentum for this bill.''
The bill still faces a tough fight to become law.
By the end of next week, it must return to the Assembly, where it failed by a handful of votes earlier this year. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger seems unlikely to sign it if it does pass the Assembly. He has said it is up to the courts or the people to decide whether to overturn Proposition 22, a 2000 ballot initiative which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Last year, after the Massachusetts Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriages there, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom bucked California law and began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The marriages held at San Francisco City Hall were eventually struck down by the California Supreme Court, which unanimously agreed that the city had gone too far.
But earlier this spring, a San Francisco Superior Court judge issued a landmark ruling when he concluded that California's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
The issue is likely to end up in the California Supreme Court. Meanwhile, opponents are trying to put a constitutional ban on gay marriage before voters next year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
tagContact Kate Folmar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Fri, Sep. 02, 2005
State Senate backs same-sex marriage; Assembly next
By Aaron C. Davis
San Jose Mercury News Sacramento Bureau
SACRAMENTO - Passionately invoking the end of slavery, the civil rights movement and Bible scriptures on love, the Democrat-controlled California Senate on Thursday became the first legislative body in the nation to approve a bill allowing gay couples to wed.
``It is a very proud day,'' said the bill's author, Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who hugged and kissed supporters when the bill passed. ``The Senate embraced our common humanity that all of our citizens are created equal. . . . It's historic and it's just the beginning.''
If it becomes law, AB 849 would rewrite California's definition of marriage as being between ``two persons'' instead of as a union between ``a man and a woman.'' The bill must still pass the Assembly, where it was narrowly defeated in June, before it reaches Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposes same-sex marriage but supports domestic partnerships.
The Senate vote is expected to quickly reignite one of the most emotional and politically contentious issues in contemporary politics. Already, two initiatives are being circulated to put a constitutional ban on gay marriage before voters next year.
But whether Thursday's dramatic action goes down as the first in a wave of growing legislative support for same-sex marriage or as a high-water mark for gay rights now rests with a handful of moderates who could risk political suicide by supporting it. Almost all of the 10 Assembly Democrats who abstained or voted against gay marriage in June face tough elections next year in swing districts or represent heavily Latino or Catholic constituencies that generally oppose it.
``You have to ask, how does this vote impact my next election? Some will deny that, but we need to be open and honest,'' said Assemblyman Simon Salinas, D-Salinas, one of five key Assembly Democrats who abstained from voting in June.
Although he believes that marriage should remain a union between a man and a woman, he said he is likely to abstain again despite heavy lobbying from both sides.
Thursday's unusually long and impassioned debate ended with a 21-15 vote -- a one-vote majority in the 40-member Senate -- and offered a glimpse of battles to come. Three Democrats abstained and one voted no. All Bay Area senators voted in favor of the bill.
``I don't think there is a member in this chamber who doesn't somewhere -- either readily on the surface, or somewhere deep down inside -- know that this is not the right thing to do,'' said Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Temecula.
Hollingsworth and Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks, were the only two Republicans who spoke against the bill. They argued that the best environment for children is a family with one man and one woman as parents, and cited the voter-approved Proposition 22 -- the 2000 ballot initiative that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- as evidence the majority of Californians don't support gay marriage.
A recent poll found likely voters statewide are now equally split over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry.
Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Los Angeles, who with Leno is among the Legislature's six openly gay members, said Thursday's vote ``unchains a community that has contributed to this state since its inception.''
She said she was proud to be a member of the first U.S. legislative body to approve same-sex marriage without court intervention. In Massachusetts, where the state Supreme Court ruled that gays had a constitutional right to wed, the state's legislature has not yet passed legislation to implement the ruling.
But San Jose State University political scientist Larry Gerston said advocates still face a huge battle in getting the support of Assembly Democrats with ``extenuating circumstances'' in their districts.
With Schwarzenegger giving no indication Thursday that he would sign the measure, ``why should these Democrats go out on a limb? Some will call a vote for this courageous, others would call it foolish.''
All five Democrats who abstained in June face term-limit pressures and battles for new jobs next year. In his case, Salinas plans to seek the Merced Senate seat held by conservative Republican Jeffrey Denham.
``If I was thinking entirely politically, I would vote no because then I could show to my constituents that I was representing them more conservatively,'' said Salinas.
Despite the odds, Leno said he was encouraged by the victory in the Senate.
``We now move to the assembly,'' Leno said. ``We are looking for three votes and I can't tell you today that I know exactly who the three will be . . . but I believe the Senate will give us the necessary momentum and encouragement to do what we know is the right thing.''
Mercury News Sacramento reporters Kate Folmar and Andrew LaMar contributed to this report. Contact Aaron C. Davis at email@example.com or (916) 325-4315.
State Senate OKs bill to let gays wed
Leno's measure faces battle in Assembly
- Lynda Gledhill and Wyatt Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writers
Friday, September 2, 2005
Sacramento -- The state Senate, in a historic vote watched across the country, approved a bill Thursday that would legalize same-sex marriage in California.
The vote was the first time a state legislative body in the United States had voted to approve same-sex marriage. Massachusetts issued marriage licenses to gays and lesbians only after a court order, while Vermont courts have allowed civil unions.
The 21-15 vote followed more than an hour of debate that included personal discussions about God, civil rights and family. The Senate's three openly lesbian members spoke of their experiences, while another lawmaker spoke of his 50-year interracial marriage.
"At its core, this bill is about affording all Californians dignity and respect," said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.
The bill now goes to the Assembly, where it failed by four votes earlier this year and faces an uncertain future as the legislative session winds down next week. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not take a position on the bill, but he recently suggested that a legislative effort to approve same-sex marriage could backfire.
Opponents of the measure said the Senate vote flew in the face of a 2000 ballot initiative that defined marriage laws as being between a man and a woman, and they promised to go to the polls next year with constitutional amendments that would ban same-sex marriage.
The author of the bill, Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, watched the Senate debate and said it was a proud day.
"The state Senate embraced our common humanity in promotion of and defense of our basic precept of our state Constitution, which is that all citizens are created equal and all citizens are deserving of full and equal protection under the law," he said.
AB849 does not require any religious organization to recognize or perform marriages for same-sex couples. The bill makes the law defining marriage gender-neutral. California state law did not place gender into the marriage code until 1977.
Leaders of the lesbian and gay rights movement celebrated the vote as not only a historic victory but as a possible bellwether of a monumental shift in their crusade.
"In every civil rights struggle, there is a moment when the tide starts to turn, and I want so much to believe that history will look back on this day and this vote as that moment for our community," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
That organization is a large part of the vanguard of the national gay rights movement and has won several historic legal victories for gays and lesbians, including a state Supreme Court decision last week that granted full parental rights to gay and lesbian parents who aren't biologically related to their children.
Opponents said the bill violates the essence of what marriage is about: a family in which to raise children.
"The reason marriage is fundamentally different from a civil contract is that marriage is formed for a fundamental purpose -- that is, to bring a new life into the world," said Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks (Ventura County).
All of the "yes" votes came from Democrats, and most Republicans voted "no."
Supporters, who said the bill could be heard in the Assembly as soon as Tuesday, hope the momentum of the Senate vote will help tip the scales in favor of the bill. Schwarzenegger, when asked in January if gays should be legally allowed to marry, told The Chronicle's editorial board that he preferred current California laws that allow for domestic partnerships and for same-sex couples to enjoy some of the same rights as married couples.
"I feel most comfortable with the way it is right now," Schwarzenegger said. "Eventually, in a few years from now, you can readdress it again and see what the people of California think. You cannot force-feed those kind of things."
Several cases involving same-sex marriage are winding their way through the court system, and at least two initiatives explicitly saying that marriage and its rights can be granted only to a man and a woman may be headed for ballots next year.
A March decision by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer, who ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violated the state Constitution, is in the appellate process on its way to the California Supreme Court.
Several lawmakers said they believed their vote on the bill would be one of the most important they cast as lawmakers.
"When I leave this Legislature, I want to tell my grandchildren that I stood up for dignity and the rights of all," said Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont.
Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta (Riverside County), said members should listen to a higher power when deciding how to vote.
"I don't think there is a member in this chamber who doesn't somewhere -- either readily on the surface or somewhere deep down inside -- know that this is not the right thing to do," he said. "Where does that come from? It comes from a higher power."
But Sen. Richard Alarcón, D-Sun Valley (Los Angeles County), Los Angeles, said he "absolutely" believes the bill is right.
"The last time I checked, a higher power created all of us. In the eyes of God, they are all human beings, all equal to him," he said. "Why are they not equal to us?"
Opponents had singled out three female senators running for statewide office with phone banks and mail, but all supported the measure.
Sen. Deborah Ortiz, a Sacramento Democrat running for insurance commissioner, said her office had received more than 4,000 calls but that it would not sway her vote. Opponents also focused on Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Marina del Rey (Los Angeles County), who is running for secretary of state, and Sen. Jackie Speier, a Hillsborough Democrat running for lieutenant governor.
Supporters of the bill also predicted political fallout.
Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, the organization leading the effort for same-sex marriage in the state, said that if the Democrats who refused to vote on the measure seek higher office, they will have to explain their votes and could face a Democratic primary challenge.
In 2000, voters approved Proposition 22, a ballot initiative that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, said the Senate's vote will cause a strong backlash against the Legislature.
"This in-your-face attack means California voters will rise up and vote to amend the state constitution and override the politicians who apparently couldn't care less about the people's vote of marriage," Thomasson said.
How they voted
Richard Alarcon, D-Sun Valley (Los Angeles County); Elaine Alquist, D-Santa Clara; Debra Bowen, D-Marina Del Rey (Los Angeles County); Gilbert Cedillo, D-Los Angeles; Wes Chesbro, D-Arcata (Humboldt County); Joe Dunn, D-Garden Grove (Orange County); Martha Escutia, D-Whittier (Los Angeles County); Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont; Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego; Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica; Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach; Carole Migden, D-San Francisco; Kevin Murray, D-Los Angeles; Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento; Don Perata, D-Oakland; Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles; Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto; Nell Soto, D-Pomona (Los Angeles County); Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough; Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch; Edward Vincent, D-Inglewood (Los Angeles County)
Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley (Nevada County); Dick Ackerman, R-Tustin (Orange County); Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield; Jim Battin, R-La Quinta (Riverside County); John Campbell, R-Irvine; Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks (Sacramento County); Jeff Denham, R-Salinas; Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga (San Bernardino County); Dean Florez, D-Shafter (Kern County); Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta (Riverside County); Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County); Bob Margett, R-Arcadia (Los Angeles County); Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks (Ventura County); Charles Poochigian, R-Fresno; George Runner, R-Lancaster (Los Angeles County)
NOT VOTING (4)
Denise Moreno Ducheny, D-San Diego; Michael Machado, D-Linden (San Joaquin County); Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside (San Diego County); Jack Scott, D-Altadena (Los Angeles County)
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Web posted at: 21:31 JST
Anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks
Thu Sep 1, 2005 12:03 PM ET
KLEINMOND, South Africa (Reuters) - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world.
"Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex," a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.
Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported.
Ehlers said the "rapex" hooks onto the rapist's skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators.
"He will obviously be too pre-occupied at this stage," she told reporters in Kleinmond, a small holiday village about 100km (60 miles) east of Cape Town. "I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital."
The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said.
It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom.
South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country, with one in nine of its 45 million population infected.
Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man. Production was planned to start next year.
But the "rapex" has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women.
"If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused," said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy coordinator for Rape Crisis.
Other critics say the condom is medieval and barbaric -- an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape.
"This is not about vengeance ... but the deed, that is what I hate," she said.
ブラジャーにみる心模様 (読売 2005/09/01)
Groups against revisionist history text call campaign a success
By AKEMI NAKAMURA
The Japan Times: Sept. 2, 2005
Civic groups opposing a contentious revisionist history textbook on Thursday hailed the result of the publisher's recent survey, as well as their own, that less than 1 percent of the nation's junior high schools are likely to use the book from next April.
The groups also said they will continue working to prevent the text by Fusosha Publishing Inc., which they claim glosses over Japan's wartime aggression, from gaining any more recognition by schools and will campaign to improve descriptions in other history textbooks.
"I think our grassroots campaign against the textbook won the result," said Yoshifumi Tawara, secretary general of Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21.
He noted that the result also showed other Asian people that many Japanese do not support "the distorted version of historical facts" in the textbook and seek friendship with Japan's neighbors.
He also credited civic groups from South Korea for contributing to the victory by requesting local boards of education not to adopt the textbook and putting ads against the text in local and nationwide newspapers in Japan.
The contentious history textbook was compiled by members of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform and is published by Fusosha. The group was founded in 1997 by scholars and other intellectuals who saw other history textbooks as self-denigrating.
Eight history textbooks for use in junior high schools, including the revisionist version, were approved by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry in April. The selection period for textbooks to be used for four years starting April in public junior high schools ended Aug. 31.
More than 40 public junior high schools, including those in Tokyo's Suginami Ward, and Otawara in Tochigi Prefecture, 28 schools for the disabled and about 10 private junior high schools have so far adopted the contentious textbook, according to Fusosha and the textbook network.
The penetration rate of the revisionist textbook would be about 0.5 percent of the roughly 11,000 junior high schools in Japan.
The result was far below the 10 percent target set by the society but above the penetration rate of 0.047 percent recorded in 2001, when the revisionist textbook was first authorized by the education ministry.
Satoshi Uesugi, a literature professor at Kansai University, said he is not worried that the revisionist textbook has spread further as the textbook reform society's campaign for the selection of the text, involving some politicians, seemed unsuccessful.
"The problem is that other history textbooks have reduced descriptions of Japan's wartime aggression" since the launch of the Fusosha text, he said. "We need to continue activities to improve the situation."
However, Tsunemi Koyama, an education history professor at Otsuki City College in Yamanashi Prefecture, reckoned the increase in the penetration rate shows more people have come to support the revisionist textbook.
"I think a majority of Japanese would not see the (revisionist textbook) negatively, but the result should be attributed to interference" by Japanese and South Korean critics of the text, he said.
The Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform will hold a news conference Friday afternoon to talk about the result.
The textbook selection process started in April in 583 districts, comprising either a single board of education or several boards that jointly reach a decision on new textbooks.
Since the revisionist history textbook was authorized in April, China, South Korea and some Japanese critics have attacked it, saying the book plays down Japan's wartime aggression, including the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, and fails to mention the "comfort women," mostly Asian women who were forced into sexual slavery at warfront brothels for Imperial Japanese forces.
Hankooki.com > The Korea Times > Opinion
Distorted History Textbook
Low Choice Shows Conscience of Japanese Civil Society
It's a relief that only 0.4 percent of Japanese middle schools have chosen a controversial textbook that justifies their country's war of aggression. Most of the credit should go to the conscientious Japanese civic groups that tried hard to prevent the adoption of the distorted schoolbook, and their Korean counterparts, who gave positive them support. Together, they demonstrated the power of a civil alliance for a just cause. Now is the time to move beyond these quadrennial campaigns to a fundamental and lasting solution.
True, the 2005 adoption rate of the history book that whitewashes Japan's wartime atrocities is about 10 times higher than four years ago. Still it is only a fraction of the 10 percent targeted by Fusosha Publishing and its rightwing supporters. The successful blocking of the textbook is all the more meaningful as it comes amid rising nationalism in Japan. Lengthening queues in front of the Yasukuni war shrine and escalating territorial disputes with neighbors are only a few examples.
It must have taken not only good sense but also a great deal of courage for the civic groups to fight against the Fusosha textbook in the face of threats from ultra-rightists. Their Korean colleagues also helped, quietly but effectively, by raising funds, running ads and making joint tours throughout Japan. Their success shows how the conscientious citizens of the two countries can beat even the systematic maneuvers of bureaucrats and politicians. And this success suggests their future course of action in similar cases.
Not to be missed on this occasion is Japan's relative diversity and Korea's uniformity. A historical fact is singular but its interpretation can be plural. Korea, along with China, may be one of the few countries in the world having textbooks with only one version of history. This is not to condone Japan's past wrongdoings or its present denial of them, but to expand our own horizon by overcoming a one-sided sense of victimization. We should remember the past, but not be overly bound by it.
Unless the Japanese nationalists give up, similar things will be repeated in 2009. A much better way is for the three Northeast Asian countries to conduct a joint study of history and to keep expanding the common ground of their historical views. Korea, Japan and China need to learn from the lessons of Germany and France, which opened the way for the creation of the European Union by sharing historical consciousness. Until when should this region remain as a stage of global conflict due to Sino-Japanese hegemonic rivalry?
Learning history enables us not to repeat past mistakes. It is fortunate that most Japanese people, unlike some of their political leaders, appear not ready yet to return to their unfortunate past. The task of civic leaders in this part of the world is to help people's peace-loving spirits win over the politicians' desire for conquest, and not the other way round.
FDA Official Quits Over Delay on Plan B
Women's Health Chief Says Commissioner's Decision on Contraceptive Was Political
By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 1, 2005; A08
The top Food and Drug Administration official in charge of women's health issues resigned yesterday in protest against the agency's decision to further delay a final ruling on whether the "morning-after pill" should be made more easily accessible.
Susan F. Wood, assistant FDA commissioner for women's health and director of the Office of Women's Health, said she was leaving her position after five years because Commissioner Lester M. Crawford's announcement Friday amounted to unwarranted interference in agency decision-making.
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled," she wrote in an e-mail to her staff and FDA colleagues.
Crawford said last week that unresolved regulatory issues made it impossible to approve expanded use of the emergency contraceptive. Wood said the decision was widely seen in the FDA as political.
"Many colleagues have made it known that they are deeply concerned about the direction of the agency," she said in an interview.
Wood also said other FDA officials who are typically involved in important matters were kept in the dark about the contraceptive, called Plan B, until Crawford announced his decision, which she believed was made at higher levels in the administration. Wood said that when she asked a colleague in the commissioner's office when the decision would be made, the answer was, "We're still awaiting a decision from above; it hasn't come down yet."
In a statement, the FDA said Wood's resignation "is unfortunate as we work toward solving the complex policy and regulatory issues related to Plan B. . . . The FDA is committed to protecting and advancing women's health, and under Susan Wood's leadership, the agency has made significant strides."
Before coming to the FDA in 2000 in a civil service position, Wood was the director for policy and program development at the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, where she led the development of policy for the office, and recommended initiatives for the secretary and assistant secretary for health. She has also worked as a research scientist specializing in the biochemistry of smell at Johns Hopkins University.
Her FDA job description was to "be a champion for women's health."
The Plan B issue has become an emotional one both for advocates who believe that the contraceptive will reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and for opponents who believe that it will encourage teenage promiscuity and that, in some cases, its mode of action constitutes abortion.
The FDA and mainstream medical associations say Plan B, which is generally effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of a contraceptive failure or unprotected sex, prevents a pregnancy rather than ends one.
Religious conservatives and some members of Congress say that pregnancy begins with the fertilizing of the egg. They argue that anything that harms the resulting embryo amounts to abortion. Although Plan B generally works by preventing fertilization, researchers believe that in some cases it might keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
Wendy Wright, policy director for Concerned Women for America and a critic of easier access to Plan B, welcomed Wood's resignation.
"Thank goodness there is now one less political activist at the FDA who puts radical feminist ideology above women's health," she wrote in a statement. "Now that Susan Wood has some free time on her hands, she can look at the studies from countries that have made the morning-after pill available without a prescription. She'll find it creates a public health hazard, with no decrease in pregnancies, no decrease in abortion, but a substantial increase in sexually transmitted diseases."
Plan B has been available as a prescription-only drug since 1999, and distributor Barr Laboratories Inc. applied in 2003 for permission to sell it over the counter. An FDA expert advisory panel voted 23 to 4 in favor of the switch, which agency staff members believe would significantly cut the number of abortions and unintended pregnancies.
The FDA rejected the application last year, however, saying it did not have enough information about the possible consequences on teenagers younger than 16. At the suggestion of FDA officials, Barr Labs filed a new application that would allow over-the-counter sales for women 17 and older and prescription-only sales for those younger than 17. Crawford said Friday that the proposed division by age poses "unique" regulatory problems that cannot be resolved without a formal rule-making, which could take years.
Crawford also said FDA scientists and executives had concluded that the drug could be safely sold over the counter.
Many supporters of the Plan B application -- including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) -- accused Crawford of making a political decision that ignored science and public health. The two senators were especially angry at Crawford's ruling because they had lifted a hold on his pending nomination based on promises, relayed by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, that the Plan B issue would be resolved by Sept. 1.
Clinton and Murray have accused the administration of breaking its promise, but Leavitt has disagreed. "The commitment was they would act," he told Reuters on Monday. "Sometimes action isn't always yes and no. Sometimes it requires additional thought."
US FDA official quits over contraceptive delay
Wed Aug 31, 4:51 PM ET - Reuters
A senior women's health official at the Food and Drug Administration resigned on Wednesday to protest the agency's failure to approve over-the-counter sales of a "morning-after" contraceptive despite favorable recommendations from staff scientists.
The FDA said Friday it was indefinitely postponing a decision on Barr Pharamceuticals Inc.'s bid to sell the Plan B contraceptive without a prescription.
A decision that "continues to limit women's access to a product that would reduce unintended pregnancies and reduce abortions is contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health," said Susan Wood, the FDA's assistant commissioner for women's health and director of its office of women's health.
"I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overuled. I therefore have submitted my resignation effective today," Wood said in an e-mail to colleagues.
Wood was a career scientist who worked at the FDA for nearly five years. She holds a doctorate in biology and has worked on women's health issues for about 15 years.
The FDA praised Wood's work at the agency, saying in a statement that her leadership led to "significant strides" in women's health that "undoubtedly helped thousands of consumers."
"Her decision to leave is unfortunate as we work toward solving the complex policy and regulatory issues related to Plan B," the statement said.
Plan B is a set of pills that may prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. The product is available now with a doctor's prescription.
Supporters say easier access is needed to make sure women get the pills in time. Opponents, including some conservative lawmakers and groups, say wider availability could increase promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases.
Some Democrats and women's groups have charged the FDA with letting politics interfere with science in the Plan B review.
Wood, in an interview, said she did not know if politics played a role because "it was a very closed decision" made by FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford rather than the head of the FDA's drug center.
"I know a lot of professional staff at FDA are deeply concerned about a loss of credibility for the agency" on Plan B and other issues, Wood said.
Crawford announced on Friday that officials were unable to decide whether to approve Barr's bid to sell Plan B over the counter to females age 16 and older.
Agency scientists agreed Plan B could be used safely without a prescription by girls and women 17 and older, but other questions including how to enforce an age limit were unresolved, Crawford said. The agency is taking public comment for 60 days.
The application to sell Plan B over the counter was first submitted in April 2003. A panel of outside advisers voted 23-4 in December 2003 to urge the FDA to reclassify Plan B from a prescription to over-the-counter drug.
Calif. Senate Passes Gay Marriage Bill
Move Is the First by a State Legislative Body Without a Court Order
By Joe Dignan and Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 2, 2005; A02
SACRAMENTO, Sept. 1 -- The California Senate voted Thursday to allow gay couples to wed, becoming the first legislative body in the nation to approve same-sex marriage without a court order.
The bill would recast the state's legal definition of marriage as a union between two people rather than one between a man and a woman.
Yet it faces an uncertain future: The California Assembly narrowly rejected similar legislation in June, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has given mixed or ambiguous responses on whether he would support or veto such a bill.
Still, its passage, on a vote of 21 to 15, was hailed by advocates as a breakthrough for gay rights.
"It will totally take away the argument that it is just 'activist judges' who are finding for marriage nondiscrimination," said Geoff Kors, the head of Equality California. "It's the people's representatives in the largest state in the nation doing this."
Opponents deemed it an "arrogant" move in defiance of a voter-approved law limiting marriage rights to male-female couples. "Twenty-one Democrats in the Senate took it upon themselves to redefine marriage," said Benjamin Lopez, a lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition, "and they're saying that 4.6 million Californians are wrong."
The vote is distinct from those in such states as Connecticut and Vermont, which more narrowly crafted the right to "civil unions" for same-sex couples while reserving the word "marriage" for heterosexuals. Massachusetts this year became the only state to grant full marriage rights to gay or lesbian couples, but only after the state's courts ruled bans on such unions unconstitutional.
California has emerged as a key battleground in the debate over same-sex marriage. In 2000, the state's voters approved the referendum defining marriage as a union between two members of the opposite sex. But early last year, San Francisco officials issued marriage licenses to more than 4,000 gay couples, arguing that state law banning such unions violated the state's constitution.
The state Supreme Court nullified those unions, citing state law. In March, a San Francisco judge hearing lawsuits from activists and city officials declared the law unconstitutional, setting up a battle that will eventually be heard again in the state's highest court.
In the state capital Thursday, an emotional debate erupted, with proponents calling same-sex marriage a civil rights issue. Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) likened arguments in favor of the state's current marriage laws to those used to intern Japanese Americans during World War II and to justify slavery. "History has shown that that was wrong," she said.
Republican opponents said marriage between a man and a woman is a building block of society, and argued that the institution was created by God.
A "higher power created the institution of marriage," said Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth (R-San Diego). "We should protect traditional marriage, and we should uphold all of those values and institutions that . . . keep our society together today."
Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks) said that "marriage is fundamentally different from a civil contract. It's the way we bring new life into the world." He called it a "natural institution," which "we've done a lot to undermine."
Sen. Martha M. Escutia (D-Montebello) responded: "My higher power tells me: Love one another . . . When you look at the Judeo-Christian principles, the main principles have been equality and tolerance."
Lawmakers said the issue had generated more attention than any other this session. "I've had 4,000 calls," Ortiz said.
Margita Thompson, a spokeswoman for Schwarzenegger, said the governor believes "the issue should be decided by the ballot box or the courts," and would not comment on whether he would sign or veto the bill if it passes.
Thompson made a point of saying that the issue "has been decided by the people." But she added that the governor "will uphold whatever the court decides."
She said that "the governor does not believe in gay marriages, but he supports the current domestic partnership laws." Those in California grant gay couples many of the same privileges as married heterosexuals except the right to file taxes together.
First, though, the bill will likely move to the Assembly next week. A similar version was defeated by the larger legislative body in June, by a 41 to 37 vote, but its sponsor believes it may fare better this time.
Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) noted that in recent months, Canada and Spain have adopted same-sex marriage. The United Farm Workers endorsed the bill, as did Los Angeles's new mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa.
"This is not radical. This is not vanguard," Leno said. "We're part of something bigger than ourselves now."
Argetsinger reported from Los Angeles.
2:58 PM PDT, September 1, 2005
Calif. Senate Votes to Allow Gay Marriages
By Jordan Rau, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
SACRAMENTO -- The California State Senate voted today to allow homosexuals to marry, becoming the first legislative body in the United States to embrace the idea and setting off a frantic scramble for three votes in the Assembly that could propel the measure toward becoming law.
The Senate approved the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act — which would make marriage a civil contract between two people rather than a man and a woman — by the minimum number of necessary votes, 21-15. All Republicans opposed the bill, as did one Democrat, Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter; three Democrats abstained.
In a signal of how precarious passage was even in the generally liberal Senate, advocates had waited an extra day to hold the vote until they were assured that Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), whose wife is in labor, could be present to vote in support.
With the year's legislative session slated to end next Friday, the fight shifts to the Assembly, where the measure failed to pass in June, 37-36. Legislation requires 41 votes for approval. Since then, backers have only been able to ensure one additional vote, of a lawmaker who had been absent that day.
Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the proposal's chief sponsor, said, "We're looking for three votes, and I can't tell you today who the three will be, but I think the power of the success coming from the floor of the Senate today will give us the necessary momentum and encouragement to do what we all know is the right thing to do."
The governor's spokeswoman, Margita Thompson, indicated that Schwarzenegger would not sign the bill if it gets to his desk.
"The governor was elected to uphold the laws of California. The people spoke when they voted in Proposition 22. It has subsequently gone to the courts and the governor believes that is where it should be decided. It's an issue for the people and the courts," she said.
California would be the second state to permit gays and lesbians to marry, after Massachusetts, where the state's highest court legalized it starting in May 2004.
So far, lawmakers in two states, Connecticut and Vermont, have approved civil unions. In July, Spain and Canada legalized gay marriage, following the Netherlands and Belgium. Some other countries allow civil unions.
Calif. Senate votes to legalize gay marriage
Thu Sep 1, 2005 04:25 PM ET
By Jenny O'Mara
SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - The California Senate voted on Thursday to allow gay marriage, giving an initial legislative boost to one of the state's most contentious issues.
The Democrat-dominated Senate voted 21-15 in favor of making marriage in California "gender-neutral," thus open to couples of the same sex. All Senate Republicans and one Democrat opposed the measure.
The legislation now advances to the California Assembly, where legislators say the measure will have a more difficult time gaining enough votes for passage. The Assembly killed a gay marriage bill in June.
Even if backers were to gain enough votes there, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has expressed past opposition to gay marriage, could veto the measure.
"My fellow members, gay and lesbian people fall in love, we settle down, we commit our lives to one another," said Democratic Senator Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica, who is gay.
"If our goal is to teach our children to model self-respect, is it not counter productive to dishonor them and their parents or their families? Fellow members this is a bill whose time has come."
In the debate, Republican Senator Dennis Hollingsworth cited what he called a "higher power" in his opposition.
"I don't think there's a member in this chamber who doesn't somewhere either readily on the surface or somewhere deep down inside know that this is not the right thing to do," he said.
"You have to ask, where does that come from? I believe that comes from a higher power that put that knowledge in you. That higher power is also the higher power that created the institution of marriage."
California law sets a traditional definition of marriage as a union of man and woman although the state does allow domestic partnerships for gay couples, providing them many rights extended to married heterosexuals.
The nation's most populous state became a prime battleground in the gay marriage debate when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed more than 4,000 homosexual couples to wed last year, until that was halted by court order.
As in many other U.S. states, a legal fight over same-sex marriage is also underway in California courts, where experts say legal resolution may not come for years.
Bill to legalize gay marriage revived in California
September 1, 2005 - AFP
A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the most populated US state got the backing of legislators in a milestone triumph for gay rights, according to its author.
The bill cleared the California state Senate with a majority vote and had momentum to win a similar victory in the Assembly, according to the office of Mark Leno, the state assemblyman who wrote the bill.
"Today represents another milestone toward the fulfillment of the American dream for thousands of lesbian and gay couples in California," Leno said. "Society is strongest when it upholds the basic civil rights of all its citizens, including the right to marry the person you love."
When the bill cleared the state senate floor, it marked the first time a full body of elected legislators endorsed a change in law to put gay marriages on par with heterosexual unions, Leno said.
"Im grateful that a majority of my colleagues stood up against discrimination, and in favor of allowing same-sex couples who want to devote their lives to one another," Leno said.
The proposed legislation would amend state law to define marriage as a civil contract between two people, instead of between a man and woman.
"Today is an unforgettable moment in California history," said Geoffrey Kors, director of Equality California, a statewide gay rights advocacy organization.
"The State Assembly in the largest state of the nation just took a bold and giant step in the direction of equality and respect for all families."
The eastern state of Massachusetts last year became the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage, by judicial decree, after its supreme court barred discrimination against same-sex couples.
Leno predicted the bill would win a vote on the Assembly floor and then be put on the desk of California's celebrity Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for final approval.
"If this can happen in the nations most populous state, it can happen anywhere - with enough time, effort and honesty about the simple truth of our lives and our love," Leno said.
But even if Schwarzenegger signs the bill, that is unlikely to mark the end of the fight for the right of gays and lesbians to marry in California.
Opponents of same-sex marriage are promoting ballot measures that would call on voters to decide whether to unequivocally define legal marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Leno's bill "is a repulsive attack on voters of California who want marriage protected," according to the Campaign for Children and Families, which has doggedly fought against legalizing gay marriages.
Leaders of the group are urging support of Proposition 22, which would make heterosexual unions the only valid marriages in California.
State senate OKs bill legalizing same-sex marriage
Measure faces uphill battle in the Assembly
- Lynda Gledhill, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, September 1, 2005
(09-01) 14:33 PDT Sacramento (SF Chronicle) -- The California State Senate, in a historic vote Thursday, approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriages under state law.
It is the first time a state legislative body in the United States has volunarily voted to approve same-sex marriage. Vermont and Massachusetts issued marriage licenses to gays and lesbians only after court rulings.
The California bill now moves to the Assembly, where it failed in a vote earlier this year and faces an uncertain fate as the legislative session draws to an end next week.
The 21 to 15 Senate vote followed more than an hour of emotional debate, where the issue of whether a civil licenses should be granted mixed with personal discussions of God, religious beliefs and family. The body’s three lesbian members all spoke of their emotions, while another senator spoke of his 50-year interracial marriage, drawing applause from both his Republican and Democrat colleagues.
“At its core, this bill is about affording all Californians dignity and respect,” said Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica.
The bill does not require any religious organization to recognize or perform marriages for same-sex couples. AB 849 make marriage as defined by law gender neutral by taking out the notion that marriage is between a man and a woman.
California state law did not place gender into the marriage code until 1977.
Opponents said it violates the essence of what marriage is about — a family to raise children in.
“The reason marriage is fundamentally different from a civil contract is that marriage is formed for a fundamental purpose — that is to bring a new life into the world,” said Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Northridge.
The bill faces an uphill battle in the Assembly. Supporters, who said the bill could be heard as soon as Tuesday, hope the momentum of the Senate vote will help tip the scales in favor of the bill.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not taken a position on the bill, his office said. Previously the governor has said the issue is up to the courts and the people to decide.
Both will ultimately have a say, as cases involving gay marriage are winding their way through the court system and at least two initiatives explicitly saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman may be headed for ballots next year.
Several lawmakers said they believed their vote on the bill would be one of the most important they cast as lawmakers.
“When I leave this legislature, I want to tell my grandchildren that I stood up for dignity and the rights of all,” said Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont.
Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, said members should listen to a higher power when deciding how to vote.
“I don’t think there is a member in this chamber who doesn’t somewhere — either readily on the surface or somewhere deep down inside — know that this is not the right thing to do,” he said. “Where does that come from? It comes from a higher power.”
But Sen. Richard Alarcon, D-Los Angeles, said he “absolutely believes this is right.”
“The last time I checked, a higher power created all of us. In the eyes of God, they are all human beings, all equal to him,” he said. “Why are they not equal to us?”
E-mail Lynda Gledhill at firstname.lastname@example.org.