On Tuesday, the Arizona law banning abortion after 20 weeks in a pregnancy was ruled unconstitutional and permanently struck down.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 20 week ban in Arizona violated a woman's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy before viability (around 24 weeks) as determined by Roe v. Wade. In the unanimous decision, Judge Marsha Berzon wrote "A woman has a constitutional right to choose to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus is viable without undue interference by the state." She continued, "While the state may regulate the model and manner of abortion prior to fetal viability, it may not proscribe a woman from electing abortion, nor may it impose an undue burden on her choice through regulation." Even the staunch anti-abortion Judge Andrew Kleinfeld agreed that while he may disagree with the practice of abortion, he was bound to uphold the Supreme Court's authority.
The judges rejected the claim that the law was not a ban on abortion, merely a regulation since doctors were allowed to perform abortions after 20 weeks for medical emergencies. In the opinion, Berzon wrote, "Allowing a physician to decide if abortion is medically necessary is not the same as allowing a woman to decide whether to carry her own pregnancy to term."
Nancy Northrup, President of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that the ruling "should send a clear message to anti-choice politicians that their attempts to deprive pregnant women of critical health care are clearly unconstitutional."
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/21/2013; New York Times 5/21/2013; San Francisco Chronicle 5/21/2013
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. . . .