The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that the government cannot compel closely held corporations with religious owners to provide contraception coverage for its employees.
Two family-owned companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, had argued that the insurance requirement in President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 health care law violated a 1993 religious-freedom law.
The health care law already excludes churches and other religious entities from the contraception mandate.
The Hobby Lobby arts-and-crafts retailer is operated by evangelical Christians, and cabinet manufacturer Conestoga Wood Specialties is owned by Mennonites.
The Obama administration argued that for-profit companies – even closely held ones – do not exercise religious rights as individuals and therefore are not covered by the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
But the court, in a 5-4 vote and majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, upheld an appeals court ruling on the case, finding that the government had failed to show that its mandate is the “least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to birth control.”
Amina Filali committed suicide by swallowing rat poison in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Amina was raped in her small Moroccan town by a man she was then forced to marry. Moroccan law allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying victims under age 18. In Morocco and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, such acts are often seen to restore the ‘honour’ of the victim and her family. But Amina could not live with her restored ‘honour.’
Amina’s death caused an outcry in Morocco and throughout the region, challenging the misplaced idea that rape can bring a family into disrepute and that the value of a young woman lies in her virginity.
In the wake of Amina’s death, Morocco changed its laws in January 2014. Rapists can no longer escape prosecution by marrying their victim. However, rapists will be punished differently depending on whether or not their victim was a virgin at the time of the attack.
In neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia, the law allows rapists to walk free if they marry their victim—if she is under age 18.
Last summer, an American-born teenager of Somali descent fled her parents’ home in a suburb here after she discovered that a coming vacation to Somalia would include a sacred rite of passage: the cutting of her genitalia. In Guinea, a New Yorker escaped to the American Embassy after an aunt told her that her family trip would involve genital cutting. And in Seattle, at least one physician said parents had sent girls back to Somalia to undergo cutting.
Immigrant parents from African and other nations have long sent their daughters back to their ancestral homes for the summer, a trip intended to help them connect with their families and traditions.
During their stays, some girls are swept into bedrooms or backwoods and subjected to genital cutting in the belief that it will prevent promiscuity, ready them for marriage or otherwise align them with the ideals of their culture.
“Vacation cutting,” as the practice is deemed by those who oppose it, has existed in immigrant enclaves around the world for decades. Federal law has banned genital cutting in the United States since 1996, and last year it became illegal to transport girls for that purpose.
Like 10 percent of Nepal’s 13 million women, Devi suffers from the painful and debilitating condition of uterine prolapse. The ligaments and muscles in her pelvic floor are too weak to hold the uterus, which slips into the vagina. The condition is often caused by overwork, not enough recovery time between pregnancies or pregnancy at a young age.
‘Everything is broken, spoiled. They killed my ma and my pa and impregnated me, three men during the war. I live by myself and my two children are sitting at home, not going to school. There’s no one to help me.’
Carmen was ten when she was gang raped during the brutal civil war in Liberia that lasted from 1999 to 2003. The conflict left a generation of children orphaned and traumatised, without education or skills to make a living, and thousands of teenage girls were left pregnant from rape, with no means to support their children.
Now Carmen has no choice but to work as a hopojo, or sex worker, to support her son, now 10, and her daughter, seven.
‘When I don’t go on the street, I can’t eat and nor can my children,’ she adds.
The Louisiana legislature passed a bill this week that will require physicians to keep mentally incapacitated pregnant women on life support against their wishes.
HB 1274 requires physicians to to keep brain-dead women who are at least 20 weeks pregnant on mechanical support if there is a chance the fetus is viable. The law would override requests from family members for removal, and even the wishes of the pregnant woman, but will not apply if a woman has specified in her will that she was not to be resuscitated while pregnant.
Grand Theft Auto V makes it cool to pick up – even kill – prostitutes. My students play GTA V instead of studying. It teaches them to kill prostitutes and demean women in the game – and beyond.
Prostitutes walk certain locations at night. There’s a line of them in the industrial area. In something backless with thigh-high stockings. You can beep your horn to pick one up. “Get in gorgeous! Let’s party,” you’ll shout. “Let’s find someplace quiet, baby,” she’ll say.
Drive her to a secluded place, on a beach, next to the surf and palm trees.
“Go ahead, sugar. Tell me what you crave.”
Select your service from a drop down menu on the screen – $50 for a blow job, $70 for a half-and-half or $100 for everything. Use your joystick to move the camera on the game, to get a good angle.
“Oh my god, fuck yeah, give it to me,” she’ll say. She’ll keep talking for 20 seconds.
When you’re done you leave her there, run the car forward next to her, then reverse, backing over her. You can get out of the car and beat her. She’ll let you. Once she’s dead, you can grab your money back from the ground.