Groups Granted Motion in Mentally Disabled FL Rape Case
In what is becoming an increasingly moot point for the severely disabled, pregnant 22-year-old woman who was raped while in state custody and due to give birth later this month, Florida's 5th District Court of Appeals last week granted an emergency motion, giving abortion-rights and civil rights groups "friends of the court" status in an appeal involving Jennifer Wixtrom, who seeks guardianship of the woman's fetus and the state Department of Children and Families (DCF). Last June, Orange County, Florida, Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Kirkwood appointed a guardian for the woman (known as J.D.S.) but denied Governor Jeb Bush’s (R) request to appoint a guardian for the fetus. Stating that state law offered no basis for such an appointment and that a 1989 Florida Supreme Court ruling deemed the appointment of a fetal guardian "clearly improper," Kirkwood also rejected Wixtrom’s request for guardianship. Wixtrom filed an appeal, with the DCF supporting her position, in the case misleadingly termed Wixtrom vs. DCF, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Under the latest court order, the abortion-rights groups and civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Florida National Organization for Women will now have an opportunity to present an adversarial position. Pro-choice advocates say the case is yet another loosely veiled attempt to undermine abortion rights by granting legal personhood to a fetus.
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. . . .