The official repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) will go into effect today. For nearly two decades, the policy forced lesbian, gay, and bisexual service people to keep their sexual orientation a secret or face possible expulsion from the military. Pentagon press secretary George Little indicated that the military is prepared for the repeal of DADT with approximately 97 percent of military personnel undergoing training regarding the new law, according to CBS. Events will be held in all 50 states commemorating the repeal of DADT.
Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), stated, "Today marks the official end of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America's military. Thanks to veterans, active duty, leaders, allies and supporters everywhere, this is a monumental day for our service members and our nation. Indeed, we have taken a tremendous leap forward for LGBT equality in the military."
DADT was instituted by former President Bill Clinton in 1993 and prohibits the military from inquiring about a service member's sexual orientation, and also calls for the discharge of anyone who acknowledges being lesbian or gay. According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, more than 14,000 men and women have been discharged in the policy's history.
Media Resources: SLDN Statement 9/20/11; CBS 9/20/11; The Task Force Statement; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/25/11
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .