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Bill O’Reilly, Maternal Mortality, Women’s Convention: Broadsheet for Oct. 30

October 30, 2017, 12:02 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Bill O’Reilly sues for defamation, Twitter tightens the rules on revenge porn, and, yes, more accusations against Harvey Weinstein. Have a lovely Monday.


No country for new moms. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of all industrialized countries: For every 100,000 babies born, 26.5 mothers die in childbirth. In Canada, that number is 7.3; in Western Europe, it's 7.2. And while most of the world has reduced the stat over the past three decades, "the U.S, is one of just a handful of countries where the problem worsened, and significantly," writes Quartz's Annalisa Merelli in this deeply reported feature about the growing problem:

"Determining exactly why so many American mothers are dying of, or suffering through, pregnancy is a gargantuan public-health puzzle. Through the course of reporting this story, it quickly became apparent that there is no single reason, but instead a complex brew of factors that, together, point to deep-rooted, systemic problems that run through the entire social and health care system of the country. Gender, class, race—and across all, a fragmented, mainly private health system—conspire to work against maternal health. In many ways, it’s a litmus test of the health of healthcare in the U.S."

Among the possible contributing factors, according to Merelli:

  • Unhealthy moms: Increasing rates of obesity and women waiting longer before having children: "new mothers are “older, fatter, and sicker."
  • Second-class health care: "Women wait longer to be seen by doctors than do their male counterparts, their pain is routinely minimized (by gynecologists, no less), and though they are less likely to seek medical attention than men, their symptoms are more frequently dismissed as superficial."
  • The element of race: "Black mothers, for example, are three times more likely to die or suffer serious illness from pregnancy-related causes than white women, with at least 40 deaths per 100,000 live births."
  • Flawed health insurance systems: "A direct correlation can be drawn between not being able to afford care and pregnancy-related deaths and morbidity. Texas, for instance, is the state with the highest number of uninsured people, and the state with the most maternal deaths."
  • Over-medicalization: The maternity field even has a word for it: A "cascade of interventions" refers to the tendency of doctors to do things like overprescribe drugs and recommend C-sections (which are cheaper for hospitals than vaginal births).


Why now? Two more actresses—Annabella Sciorra and Daryl Hannah—have accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. In this heartbreaking piece, the women explain why they didn't share the allegations until now. “Like most of these women, I was so ashamed of what happened,” Sciorra said. “And I fought. I fought. But still I was like, Why did I open that door? Who opens the door at that time of night? I was definitely embarrassed by it. I felt disgusting. I felt like I had f---ed up...I don’t even think I told the therapist. It’s pathetic.” New Yorker

Harvey hush moneyRose McGowan says someone close to her alleged rapist, Harvey Weinstein (who denies her claim), offered her $1 million in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement. She responded by asking for $6 million: “I figured I could probably have gotten him up to three,” she said. “But I was like—ew, gross, you’re disgusting, I don’t want your money, that would make me feel disgusting.” She pulled the offer within a day of The New York Times investigation that detailed decades of Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment. New York Times

O'Reilly files suit. Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly filed a defamation suit against former New Jersey state legislator Michael Panter following a Facebook post in which Panter detailed alleged sexual harassment by O’Reilly of Panter’s former partner. Seeking damages is a change of pace for O’Reilly, who has spent years paying his many accusers to stay silent; this month, it was revealed that O’Reilly had reached a $32 million settlement with a Fox News employee. Fortune

More #MeToos: More powerful men have been accused of making unwanted sexual advances:

  • Kevin Spacey: Actor Anthony Rapp tells BuzzFeed that in 1986, Spacey picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance. Spacey was 26 and Rapp was 14. Spacey said he doesn't remember the encounter, but apologized nonetheless and disclosed that he had “loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”
  • Hamilton Fish: The New York Times reports that the president and publisher of The New Republic is taking a leave of absence pending an investigation into complaints by female employees at the magazine. Fish has not yet commented.


Post-march momentum. The Women's Convention, an extension of the movement that grew out of January's Women's March on Washington, took place in Detroit over the weekend. Among the big themes that were discussed: the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and assault (which "worked like gasoline on an already roaring fire," according to Time's Charlotte Alter), and running for political office: "At nearly every political organizing panel, the moderators asked for a show of hands to see who was considering running. It was usually about half the room," Alter reports.

Rules of revenge porn. Twitter announced Friday that it would impose stricter rules for sharing sexual photos and videos of others without their consent (also known as "revenge porn"). The new rules provide more detail about what the company deems inappropriate and how it would now suspend user accounts that fail to comply. Fortune

New forum needed. More than 1,000 economists have signed a petition asking the American Economic Association to create its own job-search site after a study found misogynistic language toward women on a popular industry jobs site, Economic Job Market Rumors. Regular readers of this newsletter may remember the study, which found that the 30 words most often associated with female economists on the site are: "hotter, lesbian, bb (internet speak for 'baby'), sexism, tits, anal, marrying, feminazi, slut, hot, vagina, boobs, pregnant, pregnancy, cute, marry, levy, gorgeous, horny, crush, beautiful, secretary, dump, shopping, date, nonprofit, intentions, sexy, dated and prostitute." MarketWatch

 Pelosi's plans. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is leading the charge once again for her party to regain the majority in the 2018 Congressional elections. This WaPo piece outlines her vision and her plan of action for taking back the House.  Washington Post

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Can we talk about the gender pay gap? Washington Post

Why the Kardashians may never go away Bloomberg

Breast cancer is serious. Pink is not.  New York Times

It’s time to admit that allowing men into the workplace was a mistake Slate


I hope that not only will women going forward be more confident in speaking up, but also that we as an industry and society can create an atmosphere that no longer tolerates this kind of behavior.
Political journalist Mark Halperin, apologizing to the women he 'mistreated,' after losing his job at MSNBC, a book deal and an HBO project.