California Legislators Pass Affirmative Consent Bill to Combat Campus Sexual Assault
California legislators passed a bill last week that would require state colleges and universities to adopt a standard of unambiguous, affirmative consent for students who engage in sexual activity.
SB 967 is the first of its kind. It defines affirmative consent as: "Affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity." Affirmative consent does not include silence, lack of resistance, or "consent" given while intoxicated, and the consent has to be continually given throughout the sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. All people involved in the sexual activity must ensure that they have the affirmative consent of others.
The bill will radically change the current standard of proving sexual assault, which requires victims of sexual assault to demonstrate that they did not consent.
"Rape culture dictates that along with proving that they were raped, survivors must also prove that they fought 'hard enough' to stop it," Autostraddle reports. "Not saying 'no' or not physically fighting someone off is understood to mean 'yes'... By not accepting silence as consent, California's affirmative consent bill nudges colleges away from rape culture and provides protection for marginalized groups."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .