The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Massachusetts buffer zone law violates the First Amendment; the justices were unanimous in the ruling. In case you weren’t up to speed on the case, here are the basics: Fourteen years ago, the high court upheld a Colorado law that created an 8-foot “bubble zone” around patients entering or exiting clinics. But Massachusetts’ buffer zone law prohibited demonstrators from standing within 35 feet of the facility, a length the justices seemed dubious of from the start. Walking that length — the size of a school bus — takes approximately seven seconds.
A lot can happen in those seven seconds. A lot can happen when protesters are allowed to enter clinics, physically confront patients or block doors. Massachusetts passed its law in response to aggressive and dangerous conduct from protesters stationed directly outside clinics, including an incident in 1994 where a gunman opened fire at two abortion clinics, killing two people and injuring five others. In its defense of the measure, the state argued before the justices that the buffer law is not a prohibition on speech, but a practical measure to keep access to these facilities “open and clear of all but essential foot traffic, in light of more than two decades of compromised facility access and public safety.”
Nigeria wrapped up its inquiry into the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by militants on Friday with little progress to show, reporting almost none had been freed after the initial kidnapping some girls escaped from.
Submitting the final report, Brigadier General Ibrahim Sabo said 219 girls remained at large, a total virtually unchanged since Boko Haram militants stormed their secondary school in northeast Borno state on April 14 to kidnap them.
A total of 57 girls, almost all of whom escaped shortly after the abduction, have been reunited with their families, he added. The kidnapping of the teenage girls taking exams in Chibok village sparked global outrage for its sheer barbarity.
Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted more than 60 women and young girls in restive northeast Nigeria, a local official and a vigilante leader said on Tuesday.
The group was kidnapped in the last week during a Boko Haram attack on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state, which left at least 30 dead, according to residents who escaped the violence.
Wagatwe Wanjuki was sexually assaulted by another student while attending Tufts University. But instead of punishing her attacker, the school asked her to leave.
Wanjuki first came forward about her assault in 2009. In 2008, she says, she was repeatedly assaulted by a fellow student she was in a relationship with. When she tried to report him to the administration, Tufts responded by telling her that their legal counsel said they didn’t have to take action.
Washington Post syndicated columnist George Will is standing by his recent article on sexual assault that sparked considerable backlash and led at least one prominent newspaper to drop his byline.
In an interview with C-SPAN that will air in full sometime in July, Will said he wouldn’t take back a word of his controversial column, and dismissed his critics as overreacting. “Today, for some reason, indignation is the default position of certain people,” Will said. “I think it has something to do with the internet.”
Will takes issue with the Obama Administration’s recent report on the scope of the campus rape crisis, which cites data from the Department of Justice to conclude that one in five college women are the victim of sexual assault. He claims that statistic is much too high and doesn’t line up with the other data about sexual assault reports.
Over the past week, experts who research violence against women have pointed out the flaws with Will’s interpretation of the data, which relies on a dubious analysis from the American Enterprise Institute — a right-wing group that has a long history of downplaying campus sexual assaults. Nonetheless, Will is defending his column as an important tool to educate people about the real data at the heart of the issue.
Between fiscal years 2005-2006 and 2012-2013, 144 bilateral tubal ligations, or tube-tying procedures, were carried out. According to the report, tubal ligations are generally done “for the sole purpose of sterilization,” so prisons must follow strict guidelines to perform them.
Auditors found that 39 of 144 did not give full consent. In 27 of the 39 procedures, the physician did not sign a consent form guaranteeing that the “inmate appeared mentally competent and understood the lasting effects of the procedure.” And in 18 of the 39 cases, physicians violated the required waiting period between the inmate’s consent and the actual procedure. Inmates who did give consent did not have a witness of choice, as required by prison medical regulations. Physicians did not document their conversations with inmates about the sterilization process with any of the 144 inmates. And none of the procedures were authorized by an oversight committee of state medical professionals.
“This audit demonstrates there is a systemic problem, and implicates the entire culture. The right to have a family is a fundamental right that each of us has. Many of these women are first-time offenders and already have families,” claimed Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, in response to the audit.