Recently, an Illinois Appeals Court ruled in favor of two pharmacists who refused to fill emergency contraception prescriptions on the basis of their religious beliefs. On Friday, September 21, the court determined the plaintiffs', Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog, right to conscience permitted them from dispensing the morning-after pill as required by a 2005 executive order.
An amicus brief on behalf of the state has been filed in response by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU). Ed Yohnka, ACLU spokesperson responded to the Appeals Court ruling by saying, "We are dismayed that the court expressly refused to consider the interests of women who are seeking lawful prescription medication and essentially held that the religious practice of individuals trumps women's health care."
In February, Washington state officials blocked the state from enforcing rules requiring pharmacists to provide emergency contraception regardless of religious objections. Last week, the New York City school system began a pilot program offering emergency contraception to some high schools students.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 09/27/12; Washington Times 02/22/12; Huffington Post 09/21/12; Court Opinion 09/21/12; Chicago Tribune 09/22/12
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .