December 16-22 Weekly Round Up

A round up of current news stories on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

By Tess Koenigsmark

Monday is the last day to sign up for health coverage that takes effect January 1 through Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT. The state is anticipating that the start of coverage under plans purchased through the exchange will be bumpy, but urges people to be patient as they work through any issues.

Additionally, a federal government decision regarding the purchase of “catastrophic” health insurance plans may also complicate Connecticut’s health insurance exchange.

Catholic hospitals are growing, and that’s bad news for women’s health and safety. Religious restrictions followed by Catholic hospitals mean that they do not provide contraception or abortion services, even if a woman’s health or life is in danger. Since not everyone has the luxury of choosing from an array of hospitals (and in an emergency “choice” isn’t really part of the equation), this is a severe threat to women’s ability to access quality health care.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA), which would remove disciplinary proceedings for sexual assault from the military chain of command, is expected to receive a vote when the Senate returns in January. It’s about time.

After becoming the subject of a federal investigation into how it handles sexual assault, Occidental College created an online system where sexual assault victims can anonymously report an assault. The reports are used to track trends, and are not the sole basis of any disciplinary proceedings. Sounds good so far, right? Well, this attempted improvement in tracking campus sexual assault enraged a very nasty corner of the internet known as  “men’s right’s activists” or MRAs, whom I prefer to call “organized misogynists”.  Working under the false and incredibly stupid assumption that men at Occidental would be arrested or dragged through disciplinary proceedings on the basis of anonymous reports, these lovely folks flooded the system with a barrage of false rape reports. Way to show those rape victims who’s in charge.

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