Utah: Plural Wife is First Woman Charged in Polygamy Case
In the first case of its kind, a Utah woman is facing charges for aiding and abetting a polygamist relationship between her legal husband and her then 16-year-old sister. According to the prosecution, Suzie Stubbs Holm, coerced her younger sister Ruth Stubbs, threatening she would "burn in hell" if she refused to become Rodney Holmís third plural wife. As members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the "spiritual" marriage took place four years ago despite state laws that declare bigamy and sexual intercourse between someone aged 16 or 17 and an individual more than 10 years older as third-degree felonies. Rodney Holm has fathered 20 children with three women. He currently faces charges for bigamy as well as three counts of unlawful sex. His attorney Rodney Parker argues that the marriage to Ruth Stubbs was consensual, and all pending legal actions "represent a return to the religious persecution of the 1880s, where the government prosecuted women and children in order to gain leverage against their husbands."
There are an estimated 30,000 practicing polygamists in the western US. The Fundamentalist church branched from the Mormon Church in 1890 after polygamy was no longer accepted. Regional authorities rarely prosecute polygamists for fear of political implications. The last polygamy case involved Tom Green who married and impregnated a 13-year-old girl. He was found guilty last June for child rape.
Phoenix anti-polygamy activist Flora Jessop told AP the Holm case is critical because, "People donít understand that this has nothing to do with religion. Itís a human rights violation, a civil rights violation."
Media Resources: Salt Lake Tribute 10/8/02, 10/9/02; Associated Press 10/14/02; KSL-TV 10/11/02
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. . . .