Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of anti-abortion protesters in a case regarding the First Amendment as it pertains to buffer zones around abortion clinics.
The state of Massachusetts had a 2007 law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a 35-foot radius around the entrances of clinics, marked in yellow around the sidewalks. The law is meant to contain the intimidation, harassment and threats lobbed against staff, patients and escorts at the clinics. McCullen vs. Coakley challenged the law, arguing that it was a violation of protesters’ free speech because the speech of those allowed inside the buffer zone was being privileged over that of those allowed outside the buffer zone.
The Supreme Court unanimously agreed, stating that in previous rulings they have not curbed speech on public sidewalks. Keep reading »
This week, Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a law cracking down on so-called “revenge porn,” classifying it as a sex offense. “Revenge porn” consists of sexual photos or videos which are posted online without the person’s consent. Generally speaking, ex-boyfriends or jilted partners post intimate images or videos of ex-girlfriends, which go up along with the women’s full names, addresses and employers. The aim is to ridicule humiliate their victims.
AZ’s strict new law makes “revenge porn” a felony, establishing an initial 18 months in prison, or two-and-a-half years in prison if the person in the image can be easily identified. It will apply to any “photograph, videotape, film or digitial recording of a person” and makes it a crime to “disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise or offer.” It doesn’t include an exception for photos deemed by the press to be in the public interest, such as celebs’ or politicians’ sexy photos. It does make an exception for “voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting.”
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On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to begin hearing arguments on the subject of abortion. But it’s not reproductive rights, per se, that the Court will be hearing about: this time it’s a matter of clinic safety.
McCullen vs. Coakley is a lawsuit against a 2007 Massachusetts law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a buffer zone of 35 feet in front of the entrances and exits of clinics. Under the law, anti-abortion protesters — known for their intimidating and harassing behavior — must do all their prosthelytizing and praying from outside of a yellow line painted on the side walk, allowing clinic patients and their escorts to pass freely into and out of the facility. Protesters say this is a violation of the First Amendment.
Find out more about what the Supreme Court will be determining in McCullen vs. Coakley, after the jump: Keep reading »
Four women, who were between the ages of 13 and 17 when they were filmed flashing their breasts by “Girls Gone Wild” goons, have asked to pursue their lawsuit without being named. The women, who are now in their 20s, said when they appeared in the “Girls Gone Wild” videos as teens in Panama City, Florida, they were ridiculed and forced to leave their schools. Their lawyers battled in court recently, arguing that as the women sue Joe Francis for exploitation, there is no need for their identities to be revealed. “Their names” — in addition to their breasts — “are going to be everywhere,” attorney Rachael Pontikes argued. Alas, an unsympathetic FL judge rejected their request and now the women have filed an appeal.
But this debate isn’t just about boobs, exploitation and poor judgment. It’s also about journalism! Keep reading »