Nassrine Farhoody runs the Rape Crisis Center of Central Massachusetts and has vowed to keep clients’ rape counseling records confidential even if it puts her in contempt of court. After a judge had ordered her to turn the records over by Wednesday afternoon (3-20), appeals Judge Raya S. Dreben ruled Thursday (3-21) that Farhoody could stay out of jail until April 4 when her appeal will be heard by the full Appeals Court or by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.
Rape crisis agencies say the case could scare rape victims out of counseling and could jeopardize agencies’ image as a refuge for victims. Lawyers for David Fuller, 36, a man accused of rape, requested the disclosure of the files hoping to find discrepancies in the woman’s story that could clear Fuller of the crime. The defense argues that if the victim had indicated feelings or shame or humiliation while in counseling, she must have consented to the act; Farhoody says that logic amounts to blaming the victim. Farhoody’s lawyer hopes the eventual appeals will help establish a constitutional privacy right for such records. Currently, only Pennsylvania and a few other states have significant restrictions against allowing such records in court.
12/19/2013 Pro-Choice Democrat Wins VA Attorney General Race - Pro-choice state Senator Mark Herring (D) is the new attorney general of Virginia, defeating State Senator Obenshain (R) who conceded the race - after a vote recount - yesterday.
This is a huge victory for women's reproductive health and rights. . . .
12/19/2013 Rep. Lee Introduces Bill to End Federal Funding of Abstinence Education - Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill - Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act of 2013 (HR 3774) - this week that would end federal funding of abstinence-only programs and support comprehensive sexuality education.
"We need to get serious about educating our young people about sex," said Lee. . . .
12/19/2013 White House Highlights Benefits of Affordable Care Act to Moms - President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with a group of eight mothers yesterday to discuss how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) benefits their families and to learn about the work these women have done in their communities to encourage people to learn about the law and sign up for health coverage.
"There's something about moms," remarked President Obama, who also noted that "women oftentimes are the ones who are making the health care decisions of the family."
The ACA guarantees that all new health insurance plans, including plans purchased through state Health Insurance Marketplaces, must cover - without additional copays or coinsurance - maternity benefits, including pre- and post-natal care, as well as comprehensive breastfeeding counseling and support, contraception, and screening for STIs. . . .