California Assemblywoman Introduces Bill to Protect Battered Women
California State Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) is authoring Assembly Bill 2204 to create an affirmative defense to California Penal Code Section 273a. Under statute 273a, it is either a felony or a misdemeanor if a parent or guardian fails to protect a child from abuse, but the section allows charges against a battered woman who is not able to protect even herself from abuse. Unintended consequences of this section could include punishing a victim of domestic violence who is incapable of acting to defend the child. Kuehl's bill would provide a defense for a woman who believes that acting to stop the abuse will lead to substantial bodily harm to herself or the child if the belief is considered reasonable under the circumstances.
Media Resources: Kuehl Fact Sheet - March 21, 1996
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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."
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