Two high school girls at River Hills High School in Clarkesville, MD were suspended on November 5 for a kiss they claimed was an act of protest against discrimination faced by homosexual students. After climbing on top of lunch tables, Katherine Pecore and Stephanie Haaser shouted "End Homophobia Now!" and proceeded to kiss each other for about 10 to 15 seconds, according to the Washington Post.
Haaser explained the act was part of an English assignment that required her to perform a "non-conformist act." The class was studying Transcendentalist authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Haaser explained to ABC's Good Morning America, the kiss was a demonstration to draw "attention to gay and lesbian students who are treated poorly by their peers at the school."
Scott Pfeifer, the principal of River Hill High School, said the girls were suspended for being disruptive. "Anyone who would stand up and do a disruptive act, I would treat them the same way," Pfeifer told the Washington Post. The fact that the kiss involved two girls was "totally meaningless to me." According to the Post, the school acknowledges insensitivity towards homophobic students and plans on investigating claims of homophobia.
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. . . .