Reproductive rights

2 posts

October 13-19 Weekly News Round Up

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

By Tess Koenigsmark

On last Friday, two sexual assaults were reported at UConn. The two female victims were led off into the woods near a party on Hunting Lodge Road by two men, where one man raped one of the women and the second man “attempted to engage in non-consensual sexual contact” with the other woman.

During an October 7th concert for UConn’s Homecoming Week, students erupted in cheers when a rapper from the group Timeflies mentioned the “rape trail” in a rap that incorporated elements of UConn culture. The “rape trail” is a wooded path that connects the UConn campus and several off-campus apartment complexes. Student sexual assault prevention advocates have promoted calling the path “Celeron Trail,” but the unfortunate nickname still holds. Sexual assaults have happened on and near the trail, making the name even more appalling.

East Haven, Connecticut has met the deadlines for reforms imposed on the city after a U.S. Department of Justice investigation found that the police department was discriminating against Latinos. Deliberations began this week in a case against two East Haven police officers accused of profiling Latinos. Meanwhile, Hispanic police officers in Bridgeport have accused their assistant police chief of not taking action when a criminal justice professor used racial slurs in a training session.

National attention has shifted to Maryville, Missouri, after a teenage girl went public with the story of her sexual assault and the subsequent persecution her family faced at the hands of the town. In January of 2012, two older high school boys raped 14-year old Daisy Coleman and her thirteen-year old friend, yet prosecutors dropped the case despite the existence of a recording of the attack. The case is already being called the “next Steubenville.”

Colorado will have a “personhood” amendment on the ballot in 2014, thanks to the efforts of anti-choice group Personhood Colorado. Personhood measures seek to define fetuses as people at all stages of development in order to outlaw abortion. Anti-choice groups have attempted to push personhood bills in other states, but fortunately none have succeeded. What personhood advocates conveniently decline to mention is that these amendments hurt not only women who want to have an abortion, but also infringe on the rights of women carrying wanted pregnancies to term. For example, if a pregnant woman becomes ill and needs to have a medical procedure that would harm her fetus, doctors could refuse to provide treatment because the fetus and its incubator – sorry, mother – would have the same legal status.

While the government has reopened, Congress will face another budget deadline in just a few months, meaning that birth control coverage could potentially be on the chopping block once again.

In New Haven on Tuesday, activists protested the decision to relocate female inmates from a federal prison in Danbury. CT Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are still attempting to stop the move, which critics say would harm women by taking them away from their families. Although our current criminal justice system seems to have forgotten, the goal of incarceration is not just punishment, but rehabilitation. Removing what may be prisoners’ only connections to the outside world is not conducive to that goal.

An update on Connecticut’s healthcare exchange, Access Health CT, which opened October 1.

Share Button

August 4-11 Weekly News Round Up

Weekly News Roundup

A roundup of current news story on the state and national level, with a focus on feminist issues

Connecticut has approved insurance rates for its healthcare exchange, Access Health CT. Enrollment in the exchange will begin in October, and is part of the Affordable Care Act.  Created with uninsured or underinsured individuals, families, or small business owners in mind, the exchange is expected to offer insurance at more affordable rates than previously available.

Another much discussed benefit of the Affordable Care Act is no co-pays on birth control. If you’ve already benefited from this change, continue on your merry, protected way! But if you’re wondering why your plan has yet to get with it, Jezebel has you covered.

While the Affordable Care Act brings many improvements to healthcare for women, these benefits are not available to undocumented women and immigration reform could actually worsen the situation.  Failing to address healthcare for undocumented immigrants leaves a gaping hole in a healthcare plan that seeks to reduce healthcare costs by insuring more people.

The federal government is planning to transfer inmates at a women’s prison in Danbury, Connecticut to a prison in Alabama. A group of senators, including CT Senator Chris Murphy, have questioned the transfer. They rightly point out that the move would unfairly punish the women and their families.

Bei Bei Shuai, an Indiana woman charged with murder and incarcerated for attempting to commit suicide while pregnant, has finally seen the end of her legal struggles. Shuai’s case is a tragic but illuminating example of the persecution pregnant women will continue to face when our laws value fetuses over women.

 NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has released audio recordings from their undercover investigations into Virginia crisis pregnancy centers (commonly called CPCs). This is not the first time CPCs have been exposed for what they are – religiously funded organizations masquerading as medical centers that use scare tactics to keep young, pregnant women from accessing all of their medical options. However, NARAL managed to record such an impressive array of misinformation and outright lies (right wing conspiracies about condoms ahead!) that it’s worth a listen. More background info on CPCs here.

The Dream Defenders, a group of protesters occupying the Florida capitol in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, have yet to go home. Now, they’ve announced a massive voter drive meant to counteract Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge.

To end on a lighter note, watch this badass Texas woman refuse to back down after being told breastfeeding her infant in a recreation center is inappropriate. I could delve into all the reasons why this is so wrong (I mean, a rec center? Those are made for families!), but this fierce mother has it under control.

Share Button