CA: New Laws in Effect for Same-Sex Couples, Female Athletes, Battered Women
Beginning New Year's Day, several laws took effect in the state of California that bolster the equality of women, girls, and same-sex couples. According to the Washington Post, one new law will guarantee to same-sex couples who register as domestic partners many of the same benefits marriage affords, including access to divorce court, automatic parental status over children born to oneís partner, shared responsibility for a partnerís debt, the power to determine arrangements for the remains of a partner, and protection from having to testify against oneís partner in court.
Another new law has made California the first state to ban gender discrimination in community youth athletics programs. The law (AB 2404) ensures that state- and county-sponsored sports programs meet the same guidelines of gender equality that Title IX has required of educational programs that receive federal financial assistance for the past 30 years.
A law (SB 1385) that also went into effect on January 1 will allow imprisoned women a chance for a new trial or reduced sentence if they can prove that their crime was committed under coercion of an abusive partner. The law is an expansion of a law that enabled women convicted of killing their abusers before 1992 to seek a new trial or reduced sentence. The law could mean release from prison for those who felt forced to commit a crime, knowing that they would be severely beaten by their abuser if they chose not to.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .