Phoenix, the sixth largest city in the country, has the worst record of solving rape cases among the nation’s big cities, reports the Arizona Republic. Citing the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, the Republic reports that on average the Phoenix Police Department catches sexual assailants less than a quarter of the time, compared to a national average of fifty percent. Police department leaders and victim advocates say one of the highest factors contributing to Phoenix’s dismal record in solving rape cases is a lack of funding, which has left sex crime units understaffed and the department in need of modernized equipment. Despite a 35 percent increase in Phoenix’s population, chief of Maricopa County Attorney’s Sex Crimes Bureau Cindi Nannetti says the city hasn’t added a detective since 1988. Add to that the fact that many jurisdictions don’t have a computer database where detectives can see patterns and share information about serial rapists, and that federal grants funding detectives to work on “cold cases” has nearly dried up. Stephanie Orr, executive director for the Center Against Abuse and Violence, says there is a “tremendous apathy” in Arizona to spend money on enforcement, education and support programs.
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. . . .