Returning from a week-long trip to the Vatican, Cardinal Bernard Law of the Roman Catholic Boston Archdiocese announced yesterday that he has no plans to resign after knowingly allowing alleged pedophiles to remain in their posts as priests for decades. Of his refusal to resign, Law said, “I think that it would not serve the cause of protecting children if I were, at this point, to submit my resignation to the Holy Father.”
Law admitted that he knew that now defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, convicted of indecent assault on a minor and charged with child rape and molestation, had been accused of child abuse in at least three parishes, but instead of revoking his duties, Law merely reassigned Geoghan to new parishes. This decision helped Geoghan allegedly victimize more than 130 children since the 1980s according to the Boston Globe. Of his decision, Law claimed, “I didn’t have the knowledge, the experience with this issue, the wisdom of time that I have now.”
Since the publicity spurned by the Geoghan trial, the Boston Archdiocese has released 85 names of priests who are suspected of allegedly sexually abusing children to district attorneys in at least five counties. Law now plans to focus on protecting children, but many are skeptical. Critics have charged that if Law had been in any other profession, he would have been forced to step down. In response, Law said, “It’s important to remember that a bishop is not a corporate executive, is not a politician…the role of a bishop in relationship to the church he serves is something different. It’s the role of pastor, the role of teacher, the role of a father.”
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. . . .