This page contains news for
the period Monday, September 13, 1999 through Sunday, September 19, 1999.
<< September 1999 >>
Thursday, September 16,
report finds more working-age women lack health insurance, with higher rates of
uninsurance for unmarried women
A story released today by U.S. Newswire says that health care
coverage for working women has declined in recent years, with more women left uninsured
that a few years ago.
The new report, "Health Care Access and Coverage for Women:
Changing Times, Changing Issues," contained findings from a study conducted by The
Commonwealth Fund Commission on Women's Health. The report is based on the Fund's 1993 and
1998 surveys of women's health and other national data.
Declines in coverage for those ages 18 to 64 (84 million women) have
been dramatic; in fact, uninsurance rates rose from 14 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in
1998. The problem is particularly widespread and persistent among women who are younger
and unmarried, or have low incomes and are less educated than others.
According to the report, seven of 10 uninsured women work full time
or have a husband with a full-time job. In the five-year span from 1993 to 1998, the
percentage of women covered by private insurance fell from 77 percent to 72 percent.
The report found that women ages 25 to 34 are least likely to have
health insurance. Unmarried women are also at a disadvantage: they are nearly twice as
likely as married women to be uninsured or to become uninsured when changing jobs. In
addition, about one of three single women lose their health insurance coverage when they
stop working, twice the rate for married women or married men.
Connecticut agency to
mediate complaints of discriminatory fee for use of town swimming pool
According to an Associated Press story published today in the Boston
Globe, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities will mediate a
complaint that a West Hartford's pool fee policy discriminates against nontraditional
Five families, including gay couples and an unmarried couple and
their children, filed complaints in 1998 over the pool policy, which does not give a
family discount to unmarried or same-sex couples.
The complaining families had to pay $375 per person, while the rate
for an entire married-couple family was $325.
The Commission issued a "reasonable cause" finding on
September 10. That means the state found enough evidence to suggest that the fee schedule
may be illegal.
If mediation is not successful, the state could hold a public
hearing. But lawyers say the case may not go that far.
''We're hopeful that West Hartford will be willing to settle this
case now and change their policies,'' the lawyer for the unmarried families said.
Wednesday, September 15, 1999
Catholic Church won't
apologize to abused Quebec orphans
According to a Reuters wire story published today by CNN, the
Catholic Church In Quebec refused to give an apology or compensation to the aging orphans
who claim to have suffered years of abuse decades ago while under the care of the church.
In a period from the 1930s to the 1950s, the church declared the
children mentally ill as a way to get additional funding from the Canadian government,
which paid more for the care of mentally handicapped children than for orphans. Many of
the children were born to unmarried parents who abandoned them on the steps of Church-run
orphanages out of fear of being ostracized by the highly religious society of Quebec of
The orphans, numbering more than 3,000, have said many of them were
abused, sodomized and forced to provide sexual favours as children.
Pierre Morissette, president of the Quebec Assembly of Archbishops,
said the matter was delicate because of legal considerations. But he acknowledged that
some orphans went through "difficult situations." He said that a full apology
would not be forthcoming.
"Such excuses would betray the works of those who dedicated all
their lives to the service of the most destitute," Morissette said at a news
The orphans were outraged by the announcement. "This is total
hypocrisy. This is a campaign of disinformation. It is horrible and contemptuous,"
said Bruno Roy, spokesman for the orphans.
bishops urge: Live apart until wed
According to a story published today in the Philadelphia Enquirer,
Pennsylvania's 10 Roman Catholic bishops issued a paper saying that couples cohabitating
now should separate immediately.
Couples who do not comply, however, won't be denied the sacrament of
marriage if they otherwise meet church criteria, said Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua,
archbishop of Philadelphia.
The action by Pennsylvania's bishops stems from a report on Marriage
Preparation and Cohabiting Couples issued last week by the National Conference of Catholic
Just 25 years ago, only 11 percent of unmarried couples nationwide
lived together. U.S. Census statistics show a 45 percent increase in cohabitation from
1970 to 1990.
The archdioce of Philadelphia does not keep precise statistics on
the subject, but anecdotal experience there indicates that Philadelphia mirrors the rest
of the nation, with about 50 percent of Roman Catholic engaged couples living together,
archdiocese spokeswoman Cathy Rossi said.
Those couples are now urged to separate and live chastely until
marriage "for the good of their relationship," Cardinal Bevilacqua said.
Judges in Ontario, Canada
get domestic partner benefits
According to a story published today in the Toronto Sun, provincial
court judges in Ontario will now receive benefits for their unmarried partners just as
such benefits are given to spouses of judges. The plan was approved Aug. 18 by Management
Board chairman Chris Hodgson.
The new benefit and salary schedules for Ontario's 260 provincial
court judges, which boost their pay to $170,000 a year from about $130,000, guarantee
spousal benefit coverage for judges who live with an unmarried partner.
"In this part, spouse means: Either of two persons of the
opposite sex, or the same sex, who live in a conjugal relationship outside marriage,"
states the cabinet order, bearing Hodgson's signature.
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
California & Michigan win
money for drop in single-parent birth rate
The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that California had the
largest decline of all states in the rate of births to single parents. Michigan had the
next largest decline of all the states.
These two states will share $100 in federal awards with the District
of Columbia, Alabama, and Massachusetts, all of which were in the top five jurisdictions
to reduce unmarried births.
The number of California children born to
unmarried mothers dropped by 5.7 percent from the 1994-95 period to 1996 and 1997. The
state's rate of unmarried births, which was near the national average at the beginning of
the period, fell considerably below the national rate in the later years. California
officials credit an increased access to birth control and "changing social mores''
for making single parenthood less acceptable.
According to the latest federal figures, unwed birth rates have not
gone down in most of the country. In total, just 12 states reduced unwed births in the
period measured. But in the rest of the nation, the ranks of unmarried parents swelled,
sometimes substantially. In North Dakota, for instance, births to unwed mothers increased
by 10 percent.
Nationally, about 1 in 3 babies is born to a single woman, a figure
that has remained rather stable since it peaked in 1994. In 1985, by contrast, 22 percent
of the nation's births were to unmarried parents.
The five jurisdictions that topped the list each will get $20
million prizes, which can be used for any purpose allowed under the broad federal
definition of welfare. States could use the funds for family-planning or abstinence
programs, child-care initiatives or any program designed to assist welfare recipients in
finding, securing or holding jobs.
The article fails to mention the fact that, on a national average,
the unmarried birthrate for the U.S. did not change. The Department of Health and Human
Services reports that 32.4% of all births are to unmarried mothers.
Click here to see the statistic on
births to unmarried parents for 1994-1997
Miss America loosens rules
to allow divorced women to contend
According to an Associated Press story that ran in today's Detroit
News, the Miss America Pageant has lifted its ban on women who are divorced or have had an
The board of the Miss America Organization voted to make the changes
because they feared the old rules may have violated New Jersey's discrimination laws. The
pageant is held in Atlantic City.
Under the old rules, contestants had to swear they have never been
married and never been pregnant. The new rules would require that contestants sign a
document saying "I am unmarried" and "I am not pregnant and I am not the
natural or adoptive parent of any child." The change opens the door to divorced women
and women who have had abortions.
Teenage marriages may cause
cervical cancer to women
According to a news story published in the Dawn Internet today, the
national custom of Pakistani women marrying when
they are teenagers may be causing a high rate of cervical cancer when the women are older.
The story is based on the results of a one-year study done by Dr
Asma Tanvir Usmani, an Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Rawalpindi
Medical College, and a visiting consultant to the Holy Family Hospital.
The study revealed that 50 percent of women patients with the cervix
cancer were married before the age of 20 years. According to Dr. Usmani, an appropriate
age for the girls to get married is 20 years and above.
She said there was a need to make the people aware of the effect of
early marriages on human lives.