Conservative lawmakers in Ohio reintroduced a bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy by a transvaginal ultrasound, last week.
The bill, dubbed the "heartbeat bill," passed the Ohio state House in 2011, but was not brought before the state Senate for a vote in 2012. Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) told reporters that he wanted to focus on jobs and the economy instead of abortion. Niehaus has retired this year due to term limits, and conservative lawmakers believe that this a prime opportunity to resurrect the bill. State Representative Lynn Wachtmann (R) told reporters, "I wouldn't introduce a bill if I didn't think it could be done."
Similar bills in North Dakota and Arkansas have been blocked by federal judges pending legal challenges. In March, the Arkansas state legislature overrode the governor's veto of a bill that bans abortion once a heartbeat can be detected using an abdominal ultrasound, typically at 12 weeks gestation. That same month, the North Dakota governor signed a bill into law that outlaws abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, typically at six weeks gestation if a transvaginal ultrasound is used.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told reporters, "Here we go again. A month after Gov. Kasich signed one of the worst anti-choice bills in the nation that is already closing abortion facilities, you've got this group coming back and saying, 'No, no, no, that's not good enough. You have to outlaw abortion before women even know they're pregnant.'"
Media Resources: CityBeat 8/15/2013; Huffington Post 8/15/2013; Feminist Newswire 7/23/2013, 5/21/2013, 11/29/2012, 3/26/2012, 3/7/2013
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. . . .