Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), one of the most outspoken advocates of military sexual assault victims in congress, introduced the amendment. Its passing will result in $65 million allocated to the cause of identifying victims who were dismissed after illegitimate psychological evaluations and further reviewing their records of discharge. Speier's amendment passed by voice vote, along with another amendment to the appropriations bill that sets aside $10 million in order to further train the military's criminal investigators. Both amendments seek to address the problems recently raised by military sexual assault victims that pertain to the conflicting interests that exist when reporting sexual assault crimes within the military chain of command.
According to a recent investigative report, victims who report sexual assaults to their commanders are often subject to biased psychological evaluations that can likely result in their discharge from the military. This focus on mental health cases is an important first step in addressing the epidemic of military sexual assault. "Mental-health diagnoses are rampantly misused to administratively discharge or retaliate against survivors of sexual assault," Rep. Speier emphasized yesterday. "These dismissals are like scarlet letters, pinned where medals should be."
Media Resources: Houston Chronicle 7/24/13; Feminist Newswire 4/17/13; Military Times 7/24/13; San Antonio Express-News 7/25/13; San Francisco Chronicle 7/24/13
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .