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Planned Parenthood faces a critical decision, the UK bans the first ads over gender stereotypes, and climate activist Greta Thunberg sets sail.
Today’s featured news.
In what U.S. officials called a remarkable intervention by President Trump, Israel denied entry to Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the first Muslim women elected to Congress, last week. Trump had urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block the two congresswomen, who are vocal supporters of Palestine and the boycott-Israel movement, from visiting the occupied West Bank as planned. The move, in which the president involved a foreign power in his own partisan feud, was unprecedented, and Netanyahu’s decision was widely criticized, including by pro-Israel lobbying groups and some Republicans. Gloria Steinem, an iconic leader of the feminist movement, weighed in on the controversy, issuing a statement Saturday in which she called Netanyahu a “bully” and said she would not visit Israel as long as he’s prime minister.
After Israel reversed course and said it would allow Tlaib to visit her grandmother in the West Bank, the congresswoman ultimately declined, saying she would not comply with the stipulation that she not promote boycotts against Israel while there.
Last week, Planned Parenthood threatened to pull out of Title X, a federal family planning program, over a new Trump administration rule that prohibits abortion referrals or “directed counseling.” Recently, Health and Human Services officials required all participants in the program to sign a pledge by Aug. 19 saying they would make a “good faith” effort to comply with the rule; Planned Parenthood refused. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit denied Planned Parenthood’s request to reverse its order allowing the HHS rule to take effect.
That ruling will force Planned Parenthood to decide whether to follow through with its departure from the program. Pulling out of Title X could leave 1.6 million low-income women scrambling to figure out if they need to find new providers, and the withdrawal would vary greatly by state, according to Erica Sackin, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman. An announcement of next steps is expected Monday.
A retrial in El Salvador has thrown the country’s strict anti-abortion laws into the spotlight: Abortion is illegal in the country under any circumstance, and women who are suspected of having an abortion or induced miscarriage can face up to 50 years in prison. Evelyn Hernandez, now 21, is facing a retrial in her case: She was accused of inducing an abortion and convicted of aggravated murder after delivering a stillborn son in 2016. As CNN reports, Hernandez has previously said she didn’t know she was pregnant, and she and her lawyers say the pregnancy was the result of a rape. She served 33 months of her 30-year sentence, but was freed last February after her team appealed the conviction. At the end of her retrial Friday, prosecutors asked to lengthen her sentence to 40 years. A verdict is expected on Monday afternoon.
Earlier this year, Britain introduced rules that ban the depiction of men and women engaging in gender-stereotypical behavior in advertisements. But for the first time, those rules are being exercised. Last week, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned ads for Philadelphia cream cheese and Volkswagen after some people said they perpetuated harmful stereotypes, the Guardian reports. In the ad for Philadelphia cream cheese, two new dads were shown bumbling taking care of children; in the ad for Volkswagen, men were shown as astronauts and athletes, while a woman was shown sitting on a bench next to a stroller.
Some criticized the new rules. Volkswagen said its ad was not sexist, and Mondelez, which owns Philadelphia cream cheese, said it was stuck in a no-win situation: The company said it chose two dads to avoid depicting the stereotypical image of two moms handling child-care responsibilities.
Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less.
1. Loujain al-Hathloul — a prominent women’s rights activist who has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for more than a year — reportedly refused an offer to be released in exchange for a videotaped message testifying that she had not been tortured.
2. SStacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who last year narrowly lost her bid to become the first black female governor, announced that she would not seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, but told the New York Times that she was open to being considered for vice president for “any nominee.”
3. As focus in the Jeffrey Epstein case turned to Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of recruiting and grooming underage girls for sex abuse, the purported madam was photographed in California — the first time she has been seen in public since Epstein’s death.
5. After pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong turned violent last week, actress Liu Yifei, who’s starring in Disney’s upcoming live-action version of “Mulan,” posted a message in support of Hong Kong police. That prompted many to call for boycotting the film and to accuse the actress, who was born in China and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen, of supporting police brutality.
A quotable moment.
Last week, Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg set off on a transatlantic voyage — aboard a carbon-neutral sailing yacht — from England to New York, where she plans to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September. She decided to sail to avoid flying, which significantly contributes to carbon dioxide emissions. The boat, called the Malizia II, is an elite racing boat that lacks many amenities.
Critics have been ruthless in their attacks of the teenager. But Thunberg said she’s ignoring them; her goal in the trip is to raise awareness about the climate emergency. “People [need to] come together to put pressure on people in power so they have to do something,” she told a group of reporters ahead of her trip.
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote.
I’ve been feeling really guilty about how much single-use plastic I consume, so I bought a pack of these sporks to keep at my desk at work. They are sturdy, budget-friendly and practical. Plus, they come in a four-pack, so you can always have one on hand wherever you would normally reach for plastic.—Aviva Loeb, Washington Post designer
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku.
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