In May, delegations of Japanese officials came to Palisades Park, N.J., where more than half the community is of Korean descent, to request the removal of a memorial to the Korean “comfort women.” They shockingly claimed that the more than 200 women, who were forced to be sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II, were lying. Borough officials rejected the request and instead plan to erect more memorials.
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Women With a Vision’s (WWAV) clinic in New Orleans, La., was damaged in May by an arson attack. WWAV was founded by a collective of Black women in response to non-existent HIV prevention resources for poor women, sex workers, women with addictions, and transgender women. WWAV made national news for leading the successful fight against Louisiana’s Crime Against Nature Statute requiring sex workers to register as sex offenders. The fire seemed to be part of an arson crime wave against women’s health centers in the South, including two in Georgia during May. Donations can be made at WWAV’s website: http://wwav-no.org/.
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In June, thousands of pro-choice women marched in Istanbul in response to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) plan to introduce a bill banning abortions after four weeks except in emergencies. Signs read, “We are women, not reproduction machines,” “AKP take your hands off my body,” and “Our right to abortion is not up for discussion.” Abortion up to the tenth week was legalized in 1983 because 225 out of 10,000 pregnancies ended in the death of the woman due to back alley and self-induced abortions. Abortion has suddenly become an issue now that the AKP is trying to impose Islamic fundamentalism on the government and society.