Thursday, July 24, 2014
Maya Manian has uploaded on SSRN "The Consequences of Abortion Restrictions for Women's Healthcare," 75 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1317 (2014). The abstract reads:
This Essay challenges the false assumption that abortion care can be segregated from women’s medical care and targeted for special restrictions without any effects on women’s health more broadly. As a matter of medical reality, abortion cannot be isolated from the continuum of women’s healthcare. Yet policymakers and the public have failed to understand the interconnectedness of abortion with other aspects of women’s medical care. In fact, existing abortion restrictions harm women’s health even for women not actively seeking abortion care, but these impacts remain obscured. For example, antiabortion laws and policies have spillover effects on miscarriage management, prenatal care, and the treatment of ectopic pregnancies. Focusing the public’s attention on the broader effects of abortion restrictions on women’s health could help make visible the links between abortion and healthcare. Furthermore, educating the public about the full healthcare consequences of abortion restrictions could be one key means to preserving access to abortion care. Repositioning the law to recognize abortion care as an integral part of the continuum of women’s medical needs is critical to protecting women’s health.
The University of Connecticut will pay $1.28 million to settle a lawsuit filed by five students who charged that the university had treated their claims of sexual assault and harassment with indifference, the two sides announced on Friday in a joint statement.
In a news conference on Friday, Gloria Allred, the plaintiffs’ counsel, said the settlement was in the best interest of her clients and of the university. “We hope that other victims of sexual assault will hear about the positive results in our case involving UConn and be inspired and encouraged to report instances of sexual violence and assault,” Ms. Allred said, adding, “Title IX is there for their protection, and other universities should follow the law and UConn’s example.”
At Jotwell, Ruthanann Robson's essay, Empiricism and Equality: Studying Fathers' Rights, reviews Kelly Behre's article Digging Beneath the Equality Language: The Influence of the Fathers' Rights Movement on Intimate Partner Violence Public Policy Debates and Family Law Reform, 21 W&M J. Women & L. (forthcoming). John previously noticed this article too. Robson concludes:
Behre’s article is worth reading for its “deep dig” into the reality, rhetoric, and social science of “fathers’ rights.” Gender equality in family law remains worthy of our attention. But Behre’s article is also worth reading for its applicability to issues involving “reverse discrimination,” “color-blindness,” or formal equality, in which similar empirical underpinnings promote continued subordination. Digging beneath the equality rhetoric does not only unearth profound differences in the meanings of equality, it may also surface a dirty study.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
"Come September, there will be six abortion clinics in Texas." So states a Salon article.
Six clinics, intended to serve more than 13 million women across a state nearly 300,000 square miles in size, concentrated in five of the state’s largest metropolitan areas and leaving virtually the entire western portion of Texas — the Panhandle, the Rio Grande Valley — without reproductive care. The clinics that remain open in September will be able to do so only because they meet the new standards outlined in H.B. 2, the extreme anti-choice legislation thatWendy Davis spent 11 hours filibustering last June, which mandates abortion providers meet the guidelines for ambulatory surgical centers. These standards can cost up to $40,000 a month to maintain, and have already forced clinics across the state to shut down. With abortion providers in the western part of the state shuttered, women who live in the region — particularly the Valley — are left without options.
NYT, Support for a College Student Grows After Rape Complaint is Dismissed. In this story about a failed college investigation of sexual assault, what struck me here was the response of the prosecutor.
Anna, a freshman, said she was assaulted by three football players last September, after two weeks on campus. The school’s disciplinary panel quickly cleared the athletes. Six months later, after Anna belatedly pursued a criminal complaint, the district attorney declined to bring charges, saying he believed the sexual encounter had been consensual. ***
The Ontario County district attorney, R. Michael Tantillo, closed the case without testing whether that seminal fluid matched the DNA of any of the accused. ***
Anna’s lawyer, Inga L. Parsons, said she requested that the rape kit be tested by the police even though Anna was pursuing her case [initially] through the school, and offered to pay to have it expedited. Ms. Parsons eventually arranged to have the rape kit samples sent to a private lab, which identified the seminal fluid.
Then in February, Ms. Parsons asked the police about getting DNA from one of the football players Anna had accused of repeatedly assaulting her. She said that it was warranted “given that we have extensive seminal fluids from the rape kit” and because the football player had denied having sexual intercourse with Anna. Even so, Mr. Tantillo decided not to test it.
Here is the prior article on the details of the alleged crime. One word: Steubenville.
Sara Ainsworth, Amicus Curiae Brief, Stormans v. Selecky, 24 Hastings Women's L.J. 303 (2013).
Women and girls in the United States are at high risk of experiencing sexual assault and violence perpetrated by an intimate. Preventing pregnancy after such an assault is, in most cases, critical to a woman’s psychological recovery and physical health. Emergency contraception works effectively after an assault to prevent pregnancy, and is the medical standard of care for treating women and girls of reproductive age after a sexual assault. Yet access to that contraception can be restricted when pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions on religious grounds.
Ruling for two pharmacists and a pharmacy who objected to dispensing emergency contraception, a federal district judge found unconstitutional a Washington State Board of Pharmacy rule that requires pharmacies to fill all lawful prescriptions on site and in a timely manner. Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 844 F. Supp. 2d 1172 (W.D. Wash. 2012).
This amicus curiae brief was submitted on behalf of organizations and experts in domestic and sexual violence, in an appeal of that ruling, Stormans v. Selecky, No. 12-35223, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has deferred oral argument, pending the Supreme Court's decision in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, No. 13-356. (That case has been consolidated with Sibelius v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., No. 13-354.)
Earlier rulings in Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky: 524 F. Supp. 2d 1245 (W.D.Wash. 2007), vacated, 526 F. 3d 406 (9th Cir. 2008), vacated, 571 F. 3d 960 (9th Cir. 2009), vacated and superseded on reh’g, 586 F. 3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2009).
Sunday, July 20, 2014
"The European Court of Human Rights declared Wednesday that countries can legally require transgender citizens to get divorced before issuing updated identification documents, lest the spouses become a legally recognized same-sex couple, reports U.K. LGBT sitePinkNews."
“They can be cured simply by dressing as a man again," said Negeri Sembilan state legal adviser Iskandar Ali Dewa.
He also told the court yesterday that since this is the case, Section 66 of the Syariah Law which states that a man cannot dress or pose as a woman, is applicable to them.
A medical report from the Ministry of Health however cites GID as incurable and life long.
The Court of Appeal is hearing a case where three transgenders are challenging the unconstitutionality of the Negeri Sembilan state Syariah law which prohibits them from expressing their gender identity.
Their lawyer Aston Paiva also showed the court proof that the Health Ministry signed off the medical reports of the transgenders citing that their disorder is incurable.
“According to psychiatrists from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the patients suffering from GID, although born biologically male, are actually female trapped in a man’s body,” stressed Paiva.
Paiva also added that his clients “are in no way challenging Islam but instead are challenging the legislative laws that discriminate them.”
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Evan Seamone & David Traskey, Maximizing VA Benefits for Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma, 26 Columbia J. Gender & Law 343 (2014)
After decades of highly-publicized sexual assault incidents in the military and more recent indications of increasing reports of military sexual assault, Congress and the military leadership are addressing the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the Armed Forces head-on. While prevention efforts are vital, there is mounting concern for veterans of the Armed Forces who have left the Service following an assault. A major problem facing MST survivors is the fact that a great majority of those enlisted in the Armed Forces have already suffered previous trauma, including childhood sexual assault. The VA’s standards require that mental health conditions either must have been caused or aggravated by military service. Too often, when a survivor discloses prior abuse, this disclosure results in denial of a claim for service connection — even when there is no question regarding the legitimacy of the rape or sexual assault. Authors Seamone and Traskey offer solutions to solve the problem of how to successfully put forth a claim for service-connection, even when the survivor has pre-enlistment sexual trauma. Beyond this, they provide insight on the VA’s own internal regulations and other hard-to-obtain adjudication materials to provide a clear and accurate picture of the VA adjudication process, emphasizing how any MST survivor can maximize her or his chances of success at each step of the process from initial application, through medical examination, to determinations of diagnosis and causation.
The US Department of Education (ED) recently granted George Fox University (GFU) a religious exemption from Title IX to, effectively granting the institution permission to discriminate against transgender student Jayce M. while he was pushing the administration to assign him to a male dormitory on campus.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
From the CBC (Canada)..... Among the voices, one worker with victims of human trafficking said:
"I can't walk into a group home in Canada where [there aren't] children, and these are 14-, 15-, 16-year-old children, whom are being recruited out of there by low-level, small organized gangs and things like this. And in fact these girls are now going in using friending tactics. To go in and get their friends to help them know, 'oh, you can just make a little bit of extra money, you can do this, do that, it's not so bad,'" she said.
"I'm seeing younger and younger persons entering the sex trade."
California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] on Monday signed into law [press release] a bill that will change the language in California's marriage code [text] to accommodate same-sex couples. The bill [SB 1306], introduced by California Senator Mark Leno [official website], proposes that all state-statutory references to opposite-gender couples, such as "husband" and "wife," be modified to apply to same-sex couples as well. SB 1306 comments on the California Constitution's "unenforceable" provision [text] that marriage only be between a man and woman but only addresses similar language in the state's family code relating to marriage. Among the new amendments will be the modification of "marriage" from "a personal relationship ... between a man and a woman" to a "personal relation ... between 2 persons."
Most commentators . . . think that authorities went way too far in arresting Harrell. It angers me, as a citizen, to see the police overreach this way. How is it benefiting this child to be put in the custody of social services? And since I'm a parent, Harrell’s arrest scares me: How can I appropriately parent my child when doing something that seems relatively safe, if out of fashion, can get you arrested?
"We all parent our children different," she said. "That's our right. You're gonna choose something for your child that I'm not gonna choose for my child."
Democrats in the Senate on Tuesday took a major step in pushing back against the growing trend of regulations that are designed to shut down safe abortion clinics. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony on a bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin, a bill that would do significant damage to anti-choice efforts to go around Roe v. Wade by regulating abortion clinics out of existence. It's called the Women's Health Protection Act, and it would end the attacks on abortion clinics through one simple measure: requiring states to regulate abortion providers in exactly the same way they do other clinics and doctors who provide comparable services. No more singling out abortion providers.
The bill goes into detail about the specific abortion-only regulations that would not be allowed, but the general principle is that if you don't require it for other outpatient procedures, you can't require it for abortion. Want to force women seeking abortion to listen to a script full of lies and then make them wait 24 or 48 hours to think it over? Better be prepared to do the same for people who need colonoscopies. Want to require a bunch of unnecessary visits before a woman is allowed to have a procedure? Now you need to do that for a biopsy, too. Want to force abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges? Well, dentists will have to meet the same standards before they can drill a tooth. If this bill passes (more on that below), states would be forced to let abortion providers operate in peace or make everyone else—including, gasp, men—endure the same kind of hassles and mistreatment women seeking abortion now have to endure in much of the country.
Carmen Gonzalez (Seattle) and Angela Harris (UC Davis) have posted Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia:
Abstract:On March 8, 2013, the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice hosted an all-day symposium featuring more than forty speakers at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law to celebrate and invite responses to the book entitled, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González & Angela P. Harris eds., 2012). Presumed Incompetent presents gripping first-hand accounts of the obstacles encountered by female faculty of color in the academic workplace, and provides specific recommendations to women of color, allies, and academic leaders on ways to eliminate these barriers. The symposium held at Berkeley continued the conversation begun in the book through a series of concurrent and plenary panels, poetry readings, and keynote addresses. Selected papers from the symposium were published in both the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice and the Seattle Journal for Social Justice (SJSJ). This introduction discusses and contextualizes the papers published in the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice. These papers reflect the exhilarating breadth and depth of the discussions that took place during the symposium. Like the papers published in SJSJ, they enhance our understanding of the hierarchies of the academic workplace, and offer additional tools to promote a more equitable and inclusive campus environment.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Kim Shayo Buchanan has uploaded "When Is HIV a Crime?" on SSRN. The abstract reads:
HIV criminalization is difficult to justify on the grounds advanced for it: public health and moral retribution. This Article engages with a third, underexamined rationale for HIV criminalization: sexual autonomy. Nondisclosure prosecutions purport to ensure “informed consent” to sex. However, almost all other forms of sexual deception — including deceptions that may jeopardize the partner’s health — are lawful; rape law expressly accommodates an expectation that men may lie to get sex from women. Neither public health nor retributive considerations adequately justify singling out HIV from other, permitted forms of sexual deception. Moreover, most HIV transmission and nondisclosure takes place between men, but a large majority of prosecutions involve men accused of nondisclosing to women. The inconsistency of HIV laws with their ostensible rationales, their arbitrary inclusions and exclusions, and the striking disparities in HIV prosecutions all tend to raise suspicion that discriminatory impulses may be at work.
Criminal laws and their implementation tend to frame HIV as a crime that matters most when it disrupts expectations that non-drug-injecting heterosexuals should be immune to anxiety about HIV. They situate HIV as fairly benign when contained within stigmatized populations such as gay men, intravenous drug users, Africans and sex workers. When HIV-positive people transgress these boundaries and cause heterosexual men and women to worry about HIV, though, this transgression is often punished as a crime, even when the behavior poses no transmission risk. HIV laws and their implementation raise concern that discriminatory fallacies about race, gender and sexuality may shape perceptions of whether, when and why HIV is a crime.
Parliament's art should be subject to a "gender-audit" amid concerns that the paintings and sculptures are too "white and male", a report endorsed by all three party leaders has found.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women said that the art in Westminster is "off-putting" for female MPs and warns that the language, culture and ceremonies of Parliament are too "masculine".
The Houses of Commons is ranked 65th in the world for female representatives behind Rwanda, Cuba, Angola and the majority of Latin American and Scandinavian nations.
The report recommends a series of radical steps to redress the balance, including gender quotas and a zero-tolerance approach to "raucous, ill-mannered" and "testosterone-fuelled" behaviour.
July 14, 2014
(Washington, D.C.) Today, the U.S. Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first comprehensive Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues since 1983. The guidance outlines the fundamental requirements of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) that an employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be treated the same as other persons in their ability or inability to work. The guidance also includes the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008.