Monday, October 29, 2007

No Exceptions: Give Rape Victims Emergency Contraception

By Wendy Wolf and Cathy Raphael

A victim of a violent assault arrives in an emergency room. Once the patient’s condition is assessed, it is determined that the patient has, on file with the hospital, an order called an “advance directive” – instructions by the patient on what measures the hospital should take to prolong the patient’s life in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury.

Most Americans agree that all of us deserve the opportunity to make such decisions, within the bounds of the law, without interference from meddling politicians or hospital administrators. Dictates of someone else’s religion or conscience should have no bearing, most agree, on whether or not our wishes are carried out about such end-of-life measures as respirators and resuscitation.

Now imagine that patient, that victim of assault, as a woman who has been raped. By law, the hospital has to honor her wishes on how she would wish to die. But what about how she may wish to live? Should that same hospital be permitted to so meddle in her personal and moral life as to withhold from her the means by which she could prevent the pregnancy that might result from her assault?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Look Who’s Cheering Now

There’s always that one person at work or in class who can tell you everything you could ever want to know about sports. They know how many homeruns San Diego Padres left fielder Barry Bonds hit this season, the number of strikeouts thrown by Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett and that Ricky Henderson holds the career stolen bases record. And by the way, these are your female colleagues. That’s right, we’re taking over. From Wrigley Field to Dodger Stadium, female baseball fans can be found cheering and jeering along with the best of ‘em. Make-up has given way to face paint and jerseys have become fashion statements. It’s not just about how cute Cleveland Indians centerfielder Grady Sizemore is -- although it doesn’t hurt -- or how Yankee short stop Derek Jeter looks in his uniform. These are serious fans who know the game and the players. With the 2007 World Series underway, baseball season is at its peak.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

What Girls Say ABout Self-Esteem

Last Wednesday I attended a presentation called “What Girls Say,” about self esteem, body image and holistic health. Sponsored by Girl Scouts of the USA and Women’s Policy, Inc., it had representatives, researchers, and a panel of girls explain the increasing pressure on young girls today and what the public and legislature can do to alleviate it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fixing Cocaine Sentencing Laws

By Kara Gotsch

This month the Supreme Court heard a case which touched on a 20-year-old controversy involving justice and crack cocaine. The court will rule early next year in Kimbrough v. United States whether a federal district judge’s more lenient sentencing decision, based on his disagreement with policy that punishes crimes involving crack cocaine more harshly than those involving powder cocaine, is reasonable. The case will help judges determine their ability to sentence below an advisory guideline range. Unfortunately, the outcome will leave in place the excessive mandatory penalties that the Kimbrough judge found unjust.


Friday, October 05, 2007

Profiles in Cowardice

By Joan Suarez

The failed attempt by the U.S. Senate to address immigration reform dealt a huge blow to a country that has waited over two decades for solutions to one of our most pressing national issues.

Of greatest concern is that 53 Senators, including our own Senators, chose to ignore the vast majority of Americans who support a comprehensive solution and instead gave up too soon on the legislative process.

Immigration is an emotionally-charged and complex issue—taking it on requires leadership, courage and putting aside partisan politics. And there was a courageous bipartisan group of Senators that tried to craft legislation to bring both parties to the table. The Senate bill was far from perfect, but legislators knew the bill had to go through the House of Representatives and a Conference Committee, where outstanding issues could still be ironed out.

That is the most alarming aspect of the immigration debate—the politics of fear and hate. Groups at the local level working with immigrant communities are all too familiar with it. They have received hate mail and threats, seen swastikas sprayed on windows, and experienced the backlash that renders whole communities suspect and obscures the path to sound policy-making.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fighting to Save SCHIP Funding

By Ericka Thoms

President Bush kept his promise and rejected the will of the Congress and the demands of Americans to insure 10 million children. With his veto he saddled states with millions of dollars of debt as they try to keep up their end of the promise to working families and the children who are counting on the grown-ups to get it right.