A federal judge delivered an order yesterday demanding the removal of a 2.5-ton monument to the Ten Commandments on display in the rotunda of Alabama's Supreme Court. US District Court Judge Myron Thompson, backed by a federal appeals court ruling affirming his decision, gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore until Aug. 20 to remove the statue. Thompson delivered the order to the associate justices on the state Supreme Court as well as Gov. Bob Riley and Attorney General William Pryor.
Moore has fought for the Ten Commandments monument ever since he had it installed in the rotunda in the middle of the night in 2001. "Judge Thompson is going ballistic and overreaching his authority," Tom Parker, a spokesman for Moore, told the Associated Press. Suggesting that Moore may disregard his order, Thompson told the Boston Globe that "at this time" he did not foresee "an opportunity for any physical confrontation between federal and state officials or between federal officials and anyone else" to enforce the order.
Alabama Attorney General William Pryor has openly supported the placement of the Ten Commandments monument, seeing no violation of the Constitution's separation of church and state. His nomination by President Bush to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is currently being blocked by a Democratic filibuster in the Senate because of Pryor's far-right, extremist views on religion, women's rights, lesbian and gay rights, and reproductive rights.
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. . . .