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CULTURE DIGEST: Petition seeks to sell ‘Cosmo’ magazine only to adults

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — The granddaughter of Hearst Corporation founder William Randolph Hearst has joined a petition asking the Federal Trade Commission to stipulate that Cosmopolitan magazine be sold to adults only.

Victoria Hearst contacted the Hearst Corporation, Cosmopolitan’s publisher, to express her opinion — backed by two psychologists — that the magazine’s content is pornographic and harmful to girls. Despite her name, Hearst did not receive a reply from the corporation.

Recently, Hearst added her support to a petition initiated by former model Nicole Weider of Project Inspired in Woodland Hills, Calif., who, in a June 27 news release, listed the graphic topics featured just in the current issue of the magazine.

The petition, which has more than 33,000 signatures, says Cosmopolitan is the best-selling women’s magazine, making it easily available to boys and girls of any age. Furthermore, the magazine aggressively targets girls with material that is inappropriate for their development, Weider said.

“Join me in my fight to get Cosmopolitan sold in a nontransparent plastic bag where it’s made available to adults 18 and older, and our youth won’t be subjected to this vulgar material,” Weider wrote. “Let me reiterate my goal: That no one under 18 sees the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine on newsstands or at their grocery stores and that no one under 18 can legally buy Cosmopolitan magazine.”

John Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, told Weider his office will investigate the issue only when they believe it is a threat to society. “This means they need more complaints — that is, signers of this petition,” Weider said.

“We’re not asking Cosmopolitan to change their content,” Weider said. “We simply want them to take responsibility for it.

“They say it’s for adults, so let them sell it only to adults. This is what we are in communication with the FTC about. If they are going to print sexually explicit articles and images, it should not be marketed and sold to kids. It’s that simple,” Weider said.

To sign the petition, visit anticosmomission.com but be warned that a link from that site to the petition includes a photo of a Cosmopolitan cover.

WOMEN COVERING UP TO COOL OFF — The swimsuits are marketed under such names as HydroChic, Wholesome Wear, Simply Modest and Divine Modestee — pool and beach attire that typically covers from the knees to the neck, with variations in between.

What the suits have in common is a market of Christians, Jews and Muslim women who want to cover their torsos, thighs and chest while enjoying a dip in the pool. But wait, according to news reports, the suits also are enjoying popularity among women not driven by religion.

Chantelle Thomson, owner of Divine Modestee marketed to Mormon women, told The Huffington Post that an estimated 30 percent of her business this year is driven by women who “aren’t affiliated with a religion. A world that embraces fashion is now embracing modesty without even knowing it.” Thomson predicts her company’s business this year will rise 50 percent, having sold nearly 75,000 suits the first three weeks of June.

Also popular are retro styles reminiscent of the 1950s, including one-piece styles and high-waisted bottoms, sold by such fashion giants as Marc Jacobs, Norma Kamali, Michael Kors, Missoni, Urban Outfitters and Spanx.

Former plus-size model Tulin Reid told The Post, “My faith is not an influence on my swimsuit choice. I paddleboard and do water aerobics. It allows me to be athletic and active without worrying” about keeping everything covered.

But not every woman is choosing to cover up. In the preliminary Miss Utah pageant events in late June, contestants given the choice of one- or two-piece attire in the swimsuit competition overwhelmingly chose to bare their midriffs. Pageant organizers said no woman has won the Miss America contest in a one-piece swimsuit in a long time.

IBISWorld market research indicates two-piece styles will account for 68 percent of the $2.6 billion in U.S. swimsuit sales this year.

N.C. LEGISLATURE OPTS NOT TO PAY EUGENICS VICTIMS — The North Carolina legislature has turned back an effort to pay $50,000 apiece to people who were sterilized under the state’s eugenics program.

Lawmakers passed a $20.2 billion budget June 21 without the proposed compensation for victims who are still living, Reuters News Service reported. Had the payments been enacted, North Carolina would have become the first state to compensate such victims.

More than 30 states had compulsory sterilization laws in the 20th century, and it is estimated that more than 60,000 Americans were sterilized under those programs. Those who were sterilized included people who were mentally impaired, poor, non-white and criminals.

A task force established by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue recommended in January a $50,000 payment apiece to surviving victims of decisions by the North Carolina Eugenics Board, which endorsed the sterilization of about 7,600 people from 1929 to 1974. The state estimates there are as many as 1,800 sterilization victims still living, but only 146 have come forward and been confirmed, according to Reuters.

The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, and Perdue supported the payments, but GOP senators declined to back them during budget negotiations, Reuters reported. “We all agree with the fact that an apology is certainly appropriate,” Republican Sen. Chris Carney said, according to the news service. “But I don’t think that makes us any more sorry because we attach a dollar figure to it.”

Perdue can veto the budget bill within 10 days after its passage.

Charmaine Fuller Cooper, executive director of the state-supported N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, said many of the living victims “are angry, many of them are just distraught and devastated. Everyone had gotten their hopes up.”

“It was never about money. It was about restoring dignity to people who had that dignity stripped away at a very young age,” she said, according to Reuters.

INDIAN DOCTORS ARRESTED FOR SEX-SELECTION ABORTIONS — A husband-and-wife abortionist team in India has surrendered to police and reportedly admitted to operating an illegal sex-selection operation.

The doctors — Sudam Munde and his wife Saraswati — are believed to have told authorities they performed about 4,000 sex-selection abortions after tests in their clinic showed the unborn children were girls, India Today reported June 22. Their clinic is in Parli, a city of about 90,000 in the state of Maharashtra.

The couple actually has performed about 7,000 illegal sex-selection abortions in a year, opponents of the practice said, however.

“Our scrutiny on them has revealed that they conduct, on an average, 20 abortions a day, which comes to 7,200 abortions in one year,” said Varsha Deshpande, head of an organization that works against sex-selection abortions, India Today reported. “The Mundes are known to be in collusion with a lot of doctors from remote districts in Maharashtra as well as Andra Pradesh [a neighboring state], from where people come to them to get their ultrasound examinations done.”

Police also arrested Rahul Kolhe, a doctor in Jalgaon, for performing sex-determination exams in cooperation with the Mundes, according to the report.

Authorities charged the Mundes in May with negligence in the death of 28-year-old Wijaymala Patekar, who died during the abortion of what would have been her fifth daughter, according to the Press Trust of India.

Sex-selection abortion is a major problem in such Asian countries as China and India, where male children often are valued more than females.

HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO PREVENT ABORTION FUNDING — A U.S. House of Representatives committee has acted to protect taxpayers from funding abortions.

The Appropriations Committee voted June 20 in favor of an amendment that extends a current ban on coverage of abortions to the multi-state health insurance programs established under the 2010 health care reform law commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” The panel also rejected an amendment to liberalize the prohibition on government funding of abortions in the District of Columbia.

The committee voted 28-20 for an amendment by Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., that applies the existing ban on abortion coverage by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to the new multi-state programs. The panel attached the amendment to the Financial Services and General Government spending bill, which was approved by the committee.

“This committee has had a long history of bipartisan agreement of recognizing that taxpayers should not be asked to pay for elective abortions, nor should the taxpayers be paying for health plans that are administering elective abortions,” Nunnelee said.

The panel voted 26-21 against a proposal by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., that would have applied a ban on funding abortions in D.C. only to federal money, according to LifeSiteNews.com. Pro-life advocates have pointed out such language is meaningless in its effect, because federal and local funds are combined for the district. As a result, the D.C. government can specify as local the money used to underwrite abortions.

KAN. REVOKES LICENSE OF TILLER ABORTION ASSOCIATE — The state of Kansas stripped the license from an associate of the late abortion doctor George Tiller for failing to conduct sufficient mental health exams.

The State Board of Healing Arts revoked the license of Ann Kristin Neuhaus June 22. The board affirmed a February ruling by an administrative judge that Neuhaus “seriously jeopardized” the care of patients, according to The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal. The case focused on her mental health exams of 11 patients aged 10 to 18 in 2003. Neuhaus advised the girls to have late-term abortions because of serious mental health issues, but the judge ruled her records did not demonstrate she had performed adequate exams.

State law requires abortion doctors to have a second opinion from an independent source before performing a late-term abortion. Neuhaus and Tiller, however, had a financial link, according to LifeNews.com.

Tiller was probably the country’s most famous abortion doctor before he was murdered by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009. His Wichita clinic was a major reason Kansas was described as “the late-term abortion capital of America.”

It advertised on its website it had “more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia.” Women travel to his clinic from throughout the United States and various foreign countries in order to have late-term abortions.
Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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