The FBI's Criminal Justice Information Service is considering modernizing the definition of rape, which currently does not include forced anal sex and/or oral sex, vaginal or anal fisting, rape with an object (even if serious injuries result), and other injurious and degrading sexual assaults. As a result of the FBI's outmoded definition of rape, thousands of sexual assaults each year are not documented in the federal government's annual crime report, and as a result, fewer federal, state and local resources are allocated to providing services to rape victims and stopping rapists.
The Feminist Majority Foundation is collaborating with the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia to reach police and sheriff's officials at the local and national level to advocate for changing the FBI's definition. Carol Tracey, executive director of the Women's Law Project, stated, "The public has the right to know about the prevalence of crime and violent crime in our communities, and we know that data drives practices, resources, policies and programs. It's critical that we strive to have accurate information about this."
In response to a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), eighty percent of surveyed police departments agreed that the definition should be changed. In addition, at the PERF meeting on September 23, an FBI representative announced that the FBI agrees that a change is needed and will be considered at the FBI subcommittee meeting to be held in mid-October.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation email 9/29/11; New York Times 9/28/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 9/14/10
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .