Boston Archdiocese Identifies More Priests as Alleged Pedophiles; Archdiocese Influence in Legislation Wanes
During an ongoing review of church personnel records, the Boston Archdiocese identified at least 60 priests who have allegedly molested and abused children over the span of forty years. The names of these priests have been turned over to civil authorities and 38 names have been forwarded to a total of six district attorney offices. The Archdiocese had previously settled sex abuse cases for many of the priests identified. According to the Boston Globe, the Archdiocese has settled child molestation claims for at least 70 priests in the last decade.
The spotlight has been on the Boston Archdiocese since the prosecution of defrocked priest John Geoghan, convicted last month of indecent assault on a minor and facing two other charges of child rape and molestation. Geoghan’s trial resulted in increased publicity for numerous other reports of pedophilia among Boston-area priests. Cardinal Bernard Law then admitted that the Archdiocese was aware of allegations made since the 1970s against Geoghan, and now other priests, of child abuse and pedophilia and knowingly did not remove the priests from their posts or notify civil authorities. Law has since apologized for “mistakes in judgment.” Catholic parishioners are calling for his resignation.
Massachusetts legislators are now considering laws that would require clergy to report allegations of abuse to civil authorities. The Boston Archdiocese moral authority has been severely compromised since the allegations. Some political pundits suggest that this scandal coupled with the preoccupation of the Archdiocese may have played a role in the passage of another piece of legislation in the Massachusetts House. At the end of last month, Massachusetts passed a bill that would require insurance plans that already cover prescription drugs to cover prescription contraception. The House also rejected an amendment 106 to 49 that would have allowed religiously affiliated organizations to forego the requirement based on moral objections.
Media Resources: Boston Globe, 2/8/02; Associated Press, 2/8/02; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 1/31/02; Feminist Daily News Wire
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. . . .