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An abortion pill will now ship to the United States, Amy Schumer’s message for NFL players, and career advice from Lyft’s VP of inclusion.
The Trump administration is reportedly considering defining gender as a biological, unchangeable condition determined by sex at birth, according to a memo obtained by the New York Times. The Department of Health and Human Services memo argues for imposing a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. In a clear reversal of decisions enacted by the Obama administration that loosened legal definitions of sex, the memo reads: “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”
The government currently recognizes an estimated 1.4 million Americans who self-identify as a gender other than the one they were born into. Civil rights groups have been meeting with officials in recent weeks to argue against the proposed definition, according to the Times.
Women in the United States will now be able to buy abortion pills online via a new service called Aid Access, the Atlantic reports. The service is an offshoot of Women on Web, an organization founded by doctor Rebecca Gomperts that gives women a way to perform their own medication-induced abortions at home in countries where abortion is legal. It previously did not ship to the United States.
According to Gomperts, Aid Access will be just as safe as Women on Web and will screen women for their eligibility to take the pills. The cost is $95, and the website says the service will try to help women who can’t pay.
Judy Blume has granted the rights to turn her coming-of-age novel “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” into a film, Deadline reports. Nearly 50 years after publishing the book, Blume gave the rights to producer James L. Brooks’s Gracie Films and writer-director Kelly Fremon Craig, who collaborated on the 2016 film “The Edge Of Seventeen.”
“I got the greatest email from Judy where she said if someone were to make a film of one of her books, she hoped it would have the same tone and feeling that ‘The Edge of Seventeen’ had,” Fremon Craig told Deadline. “It’s maybe the greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten, because she has always been a North star for me as a writer.”
On Friday, Amy Schumer took to Instagram to say she would not do a Super Bowl commercial this year in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand during the national anthem at games in protest of police brutality and racism in America. That announcement came amid reports that Rihanna declined an opportunity to perform at next year’s Super Bowl halftime show, too, most likely in support of Kaepernick.
In an unprecedented push for gender equality, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced Tuesday that the country’s new cabinet will be 50 percent female. And, for the first time in Ethiopia’s history, women will hold the top security posts in defense and the newly formed Ministry of Peace. “Our women ministers will disprove the adage that women can’t lead,” Abiy said in Parliament.
A new immunotherapy drug called Tecentriq has shown promise for some patients at the final stage of breast cancer, a new study finds. Women in the study who received Tecentriq plus chemotherapy went two months longer on average without their cancer worsening. What’s more, women with high levels of a protein Tecentriq targets lived roughly 25 months on average vs. about 15 months for women given chemo only. However, the benefit for most women was small — and its cost and side effects have raised concerns among some scientists.
On Tuesday, a federal judge threw out adult-film actress Stormy Daniels’s defamation lawsuit against President Trump on First Amendment grounds. Shortly after the news broke, Trump took to Twitter to weigh in, calling Daniels “Horseface.”
The suit originated from an April tweet in which Trump called Daniels a “con job” for producing a sketch of a man she said threatened her in relation to the first suit she filed against Trump, which seeks to void their nondisclosure agreement. Along with that suit, a separate defamation case by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos, who alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her, is pending.
With just two weeks to go until the midterms, here’s the latest in election news:
• In Georgia, Stacey Abrams is vying to become the first black female governor in U.S. history, and is relying heavily on new voters to do so. Ever since the Associated Press reported that the voter registrations of 53,000 Georgians were frozen, Abrams has been accusing her Republican opponent, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, of voter suppression. Kemp, who has also been criticized for purging voter rolls, defended himself and said his opponent was using the issue to rile up voters. The race is neck-and-neck in the polls.
• This week, The Washington Post, along with BuzzFeed, reported that the 2018 midterms may hinge on the political enthusiasm of a very specific demographic: mostly white, college-educated, middle-aged women who were galvanized by Trump’s election. These women have turned grass-roots efforts into national networks, and could prove particularly beneficial for Democrats in House and state legislature elections.
• Sen. Heidi Keitkamp (D-N.D.) apologized after a campaign ad named several women without their permission in an open letter from sexual assault victims, which was aimed at bringing attention to her opponent’s comments about the #MeToo movement. A staff member resigned amid the fallout.
On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a DNA analysis that indicated she has Native American ancestry, following months of President Trump questioning the claim and once promising $1 million to charity if a DNA test proved her correct. But her announcement was met with disapproval and anger from many Native Americans, including the Cherokee Nation, because many tribes have different criteria for tribal citizenship.
The controversy also brought one of Trump’s favorite nicknames for Warren back into the spotlight.
Pocahontas (whose given name was Matoaka) was a Powhatan chief’s daughter who was born in about 1596. She eventually married an English colonist and converted to Christianity, and is celebrated as one of the first allies of white settlers in the New World — most recently in a 1995 Disney movie.
But white American culture has long used the Pocahontas myth to justify colonial conquest, slavery and white supremacy, writes Honor Sachs in The Washington Post: “For centuries, the mythmaking that divorced an indigenous subject from her history has given an unfair advantage to those invested in the preservation of white supremacy.” People all across the political spectrum have criticized Trump for wielding “Pocahontas” as an insult, Sachs writes.
A little over six months ago, Nilka Thomas left Google, where she’d worked for 13 years, for a new position at the ride-hailing company Lyft. As vice president of talent and inclusion at Lyft, Thomas’s job is aimed at diversifying a company that, like the industry at large, remains white- and male-dominated. Thomas grew up in Anchorage, where she says she lacked “visible role models or influences that reflected back” her own identity as a black woman. Below, Thomas shares thoughts on tech’s diversity problem and offers advice to women starting out.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s government confirmed that 59-year-old journalist Jamal Khashoggi died violently inside its consulate in Istanbul, claiming his death was a result of an argument and fistfight that led to the arrests of 18 Saudis. The global community has been outraged over Khashoggi’s death; President Trump questioned the official Saudi explanation, saying that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies” while also praising the country as an “incredible ally.” Maggie Mitchell Salem, Khashoggi’s good friend, told The Washington Post that Khashoggi “had a never-ending hope that changes could happen, and that Arabs could lead the way.” In killing him, she added, “they killed a vision of what Arab media and society could be like.”
I go on a lot of group vacations with friends, and figuring out who owes what can really ruin the fun. The Splitwise app automatically figures out who owes whom at the end of your trip; you can also link it to your Venmo to “settle up.” It’s great for splitting shared housing expenses with roommates, too.
—Maya Sugarman, Lily video editor
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