As a new academic year begins, troubles continue to plague two of the nation's prestigious military academies already embroiled in sexual assault scandals. Last weekend, police cited three US Air Force Academy cadets for underage drinking with two high school girls in a Colorado Springs hotel. On Monday, an arrest affidavit was released for David Phillip Hawkins, 21, a senior cadet charged with raping a nearly unconscious, drunken woman in his pickup truck. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 26. This Thursday, junior cadet Robert C. Graham II will face a court-martial for allegedly using and distributing Ecstasy and a similar hallucinogenic drug, the Associated Press reported. Graham faces academy dismissal and a maximum 25-year prison sentence should he be convicted.
Meanwhile two midshipmen at the US Naval Academy have resigned, under allegations of raping two female classmates last year. Todd Thurston, 20, and Eric Bailey, 23, are accused of serving alcohol to minors and raping one woman and two women, respectively in their dormitory. Their attorney, William Ferris, told the AP the Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt has recommended acceptance of their resignations.
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. . . .