Court Will Decide Constitutionality of Violence Against Women Act
The 1994 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was a significant feminist victory, allowing women to sue for monetary damages in federal civil court, including medical expenses and lost wages. VAWA also includes provisions to fund battered-women's shelters and domestic-abuse hot lines.
Tomorrow, January 11, the Supreme Court will hear Brzonkala v. Morrison, a case involving a Virginia Polytechnic Institute student who was allegedly raped in a dormitory by two football players who were students. This is a major case for women , as the Court will decide whether to uphold VAWA's civil rights section. Both a District Court Judge and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the civil rights section of VAWA permitting women to enter the court and sue for damages if she is a victim of gender-based violence represents an abuse of Congress's power, leaving Brzonkala with no way to remedy her case. NOWLDEF is representing Brzonkala.
While opponents of the bill are focusing on the issue of states' rights, the crux of the case is the right of women to seek damages in cases of gender-based violence. Advocates of VAWA point to evidence that state and local law enforcement to do adequately respond to domestic violence and rape, and that state laws on violence continue to reflect bias against women.
The National Organization for Women will hold a rally outside the Supreme Court in support of VAWA Tuesday, January 11, 9:30 am at First Street and Maryland Avenue N.E. Feminists are urged to attend.
Media Resources: Washington Post, NOW, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and Nando Times - January 10, 2000
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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. . . .