Congresswoman Maloney Prevented from Testifying on EC for Rape Survivors
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) was prevented from testifying on Thursday about the need to include information on emergency contraception in the Department of Justice's (DOJ) guidelines for the treatment of sexual assault victims before an advisory committee working to strengthen the federal Violence Against Women Act. Rep. Maloney was told that if she did not leave, security would escort her out, according to her office. A spokesman for DOJ told Newsday that Maloney was asked to leave because she had not registered to speak in time. “Today’s unfortunate incident raises questions about the basic willingness of the Justice Department to hear public comment on its decisions regarding women’s health,” Maloney said in a statement released by her office on Thursday.
The Justice Department's guidelines, published for the first time last September, currently do not mention offering EC to rape victims - an omission that has spurred criticism from many women’s, civil liberties, and health groups across the country. Last month, 97 US lawmakers, led by Maloney, sent a letter to Diane Stuart, Director of DOJ’s Office on Violence Against Women, in which they "strongly urged" the revision of its new guidelines for the treatment of sexual assault survivors to include information about emergency contraception (EC). Maloney said, "It is clear that the administration's ideological opposition to choice now even extends to rape victims. Women who are sexually violated at the very least deserve the right to prevent unwanted pregnancies."
EC is exceedingly safe and effective if taken within 5 days but it is most effective (95 percent) if taken within 24 hours after any unprotected sexual intercourse, when a condom breaks, or after a sexual assault. EC has the potential to cut in half the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year and prevent as many as 800,000 abortions a year. In some states, such as New York, hospitals are bound by law to offer emergency contraception to rape victims.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .