Academy of Pediatrics Urges Doctors to Ask About Sexual Assault
With recent data showing that adolescents have the highest national rate of rape, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that doctors ask their patients if they have ever been sexually assaulted. Data demonstrated that sexual assault rates for victims aged 12-19 were more than double the rates for victims aged 25 and older. The recommendations offer approaches to integrating the sexual assault question into annual check-ups, counseling referrals, and preserving rape and sexual assault evidence.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 383,000 women were the victims of rape or sexual assault in 1999, a slight increase from the previous year, and only 28.3 percent of those crimes were reported to law enforcement [Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey]. Almost seven in ten rape or sexual assault victims report that the offender was an intimate, relative, friend, or acquaintance.
Many feminist activists and anti-domestic violence groups across the nation have been raising awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault both in the U.S. and worldwide. One such group, called One in Four, has launched a 7-month walk across America, from San Francisco to Washington DC. The group, walking 20-30 miles each day, is calling for public funding for rape kits and exams for victims of sexual violence.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .