Fort Bragg Killings Prompt Mental Health Screening for Returning Soldiers
After the killings of four women this summer in Fort Bragg, North Carolina allegedly by their enlisted husbands, three of whom had recently returned from Afghanistan, the US military announced yesterday it will screen soldiers heading home for signs of mental health problems. Investigators are also looking into the possible side effects of Larium, a common drug prescribed to soldiers to protect against malaria. While its manufacturer, Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. warns that side effects can include “neurological and psychiatric disorders,” the World Health Organization estimates that severe effects are only experienced by five out of 100,000.
Frank Ochberg, former associate director of the National Institute of Mental Health, told the Associated Press that studies have not shown a strong correlation between domestic violence and the post-traumatic stress disorder commonly experienced by soldiers returning from combat. Ochberg points out that “far more often domestic violence has to do with bullying, jealousy, desire to control a spouse.”
In the military, the rate of domestic violence incidents rose from 18.6 to 25.6 per 1,000 military personnel between 1990 and 1996. Since then, the rate has decreased to 16.5 per 1,000 in 2001, but still remains much higher than in the civilian population, which has 3.1 incidents of domestic violence per 1,000 people, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Though numbers are not available for the past 10 months, the downward trend may be reversing, according to Christine Hansen, executive director of the Miles Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides services to domestic abuse victims in the military community. “We have seen through our clients alone an increase in the number of domestic violence incidents since mid-October as well as an increase in the severity of abuse,” she told the Journal-Constitution.
Media Resources: Associated Press 8/30/02, 8/21/02; Atlanta Journal-Constitution 8/30/02
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. . . .