Legislators are considering increasing the penalty for GHB, a so-called "rape drug" that has also caused seizures, comas, and death.
GHB, or gamma hydroxy butyrate, is one of several drugs that rapists have used to subdue their victims before sexually assaulting them. Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R- Ark), a proponent of stricter penalties for possession of the drug, said that he is aware of several instances in which women who have been immobilized by GHB and raped could not identify their assailants because the drug affects victims' memories. GHB is currently being used by criminals nationwide, and is difficult for police to detect because it can easily be concealed in water and eye-drop bottles. It can also disappear from a victim's blood stream in only 12 hours.
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee for Texas has introduced a bill to make it easier for law enforcement officials to apprehend drug producers,who are currently slipping through legal loopholes. By slightly changing the chemical composition of the drug so that it produces the same effects, yet is technically no longer the illegal substance GHB, dealers circumvent the definition of the current law. Jackson-Lee's proposal would expand the definition of GHB to include a variety of similar drugs. The bill also encourages education programs about date-rape substances.
Jackson-Lee dedicated her legislation to Hillory J. Farias, a 17-year-old Texan who died in 1996 after GHB was slipped into her soda.
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. . . .