On Monday, Virginia state Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) filed a "personhood" bill, which states that life begins at conception and proposes to give constitutional rights to a fertilized egg. The bill proposes to give "unborn children at every stage of development all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth." Yesterday marked the first day of the pre-filing period in introduce legislation.
Tarina Keene, president of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated, "We have no doubt that this is just the beginning of an all-out series of legislative attacks on women's freedom and privacy." If passed this would ban emergency contraception, birth control pills, and IUDs as well as all abortions, even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman or girl. The bill would even eliminate medical choices for women, including some cancer treatments, in vitro fertilization, and could allow the state to investigate and even prosecute a woman for a miscarriage.
In the Mississippi election in November, Mississippi voters defeated the Personhood Amendment ballot initiative. While the state went Republican and voted for many candidates who supported Initiative 26, a state constitutional personhood amendment that would have given full rights to fertilized eggs, women's rights supporters successfully defeated this dangerous initiative 58% to 42% with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
Anti-abortion and anti-birth control extremists have indicated that they intend to put a similar measure on six state ballots in 2012. So far, reproductive rights supporters have defeated anti-choice state ballot measures in South Dakota, Colorado, and California in 2006 and 2008; in Colorado in 2010, and now Mississippi in 2011
Media Resources: Associated Press 11/22/11; PilotOnline.com 11/21/11
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 of Civil Rights 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 colleges to eliminate gender-based discrimination.
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. . . .