Erin Andrews, an ESPN sportscaster who was recently victimized by a stalker, came out in support of the Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act of 2010 (STALKERS) yesterday at a press conference. The bill, which seeks to update and strengthen current federal anti-stalking laws, was introduced in the house last week by Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Virginia Foxx (D-NC), according to CNN. Andrews said that because stalking legislation has not advanced with changing technologies, the bill will modernize stalking legislation to "give law enforcement the tools they need to combat stalking in the digital age."
Andrew's stalker, who followed her to three states to film her through the peepholes of hotel rooms, was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison. Andrews stated on the Huffington Post that while her stalker "will be in prison for a little over two years," the nude videos he filmed "will be on the Internet for the rest of my life." She also emphasized her desire to push STALKERS forward, saying, "I'm showing my face. I'm lending my voice. And I'm here to give this law some teeth," reported Salon.
The bill updates federal stalking law to include technologies, such as text messaging, and allows for stricter punishment when the victim is elderly or a minor, according to Salon. Additionally, the bill raises the maximum prison sentence for stalking to five years and broadens the definition of stalking to "conduct [that] would be reasonably expected to cause the other person serious emotional distress." The law could potentially be used as a model for reforming state stalking laws as well.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), plans to introduce a version of the bill in the Senate.
Media Resources: Salon 7/27/10; CNN 7/27/10; Huffington Post 7/27/10
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .