NYC Establishes Civil Rights Remedy for Victims of Gender-Biased Crime
On November 30, a New York City Council Committee passed a new law that would allow victims of rape, domestic violence, and other crimes motivated by gender bias to sue the perpetrators in civil cases. NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is expected to sign the bill this week, making the city the first in the nation to establish this civil right for victims of violence against women since the May Supreme Court decision nullifying the civil rights remedy of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act See Feminist News, May 15, 2000). In that ruling, the Supreme Court declared that the regulation of crime was under the jurisdiction of the states and localities, not with Congress. New York City is the first to take steps to establish such protections for victims of violence against women since the ruling. The new measure allows women to bring suit up to seven years after an incident, and allows them to sue for lawyers’ fees and punitive damages as well as compensation. It requires plaintiffs to prove that the acts were motivated by gender bias; typical evidence in such cases includes anti-woman epithets and acts that “perpetuated stereotypes of women’s submissive role.” The New York Times reported that, while overall crime in New York City has been declining, incidents of domestic violence have remained steady.
Media Resources: New York Times - December 1, 2000
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. . . .