Women in Taiwan embraced a legal victory for victims of rape on Tuesday. Regardless of whether or not rape victims press charges themselves against their attackers, prosecutors can now file suit against the rape perpetrators. This law protects women from describing the painful and exacting details of the rape to an open court.
Records show that Taiwan has approximately 1,700 reported rapes a year. However, because of the fear of repeated violence and social stigma, most rape victims never notify the police. This leads experts to believe that as many as 10 times more rapes are occuring than are reported.
In the past, rapists have not been convicted of their crimes because Taiwanese law would not permit authorities to prosecute the rapists unless the rape victims pressed charges as well. According to lawmaker Fan Hsiun-lu, "many women were still compelled to live with sexual assaults because the law encouraged them to settle the cases in private or simply keep quiet under the attackers' threats of more violence."
Under the new law, a rapist can face up to five years in jail and up to three years of sexual therapy. While this law is a huge progressive step for the women in Taiwan, there are still problems with this law and other laws involved in sexual assault issues. While the new law takes effect immediately in the more violent rape cases, there will be a delay of two years before the law can be applied to less violent rapes. Also, women who claim rape by their spouses must still press charges themselves before prosecutors can file suit.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .