PA Supreme Court Rules Domestic Violence Victims Must Testify Against Their Abusers
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last week that victims of domestic violence must testify against their abusers regardless of whether they intend to press charges. The unanimous decision that overruled a lower court's decision was based on an incident in which Kellie Kirkner was choked and beaten by her husband Joseph Kirkner in 1999. Mrs. Kirkner obtained a protection order against her husband last May; however, she refused to testify against him, citing that "she wished to preserve her marriage and family."
Chester County First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carmody applauded the ruling saying: "It's crucial to an effective prosecution in these types of cases. Too many of these cases become homicides." The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence came out against the ruling, asserting that victims will become even more reluctant to bring charges against their abusers if they know that they will then be forced to face them in a courtroom.
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. . . .