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.
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. . . .