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 »
A Mississippi judge ruled yesterday that Itawamba Agricultural High School violated a lesbian student’s rights by forbidding her from bringing her girlfriend to prom and wearing a tuxedo. Constance McMillen, 18, came out of the closet as gay in the 8th grade and asked school officials in December and February of this school year if she could bring her 16-year-old girlfriend to the April 2 prom. Itawamba not only said same-sex dates were not allowed, but a female student could not wear a tux. When the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi took up McMillen’s cause, the school just canceled prom entirely. Keep reading »
A California 7th grader is fighting for her right to…wear a T-shirt. Anna Amador is representing her daughter in the lawsuit against McSwain Elementary School after her daughter was forced to take off her pro-life T-shirt back in April 2008. Celebrating “National Pro-Life T-shirt Day”—which I didn’t even know existed—the girl sported a graphic (pun!) tee with two pictures of a fetus followed by a square of black, along with the words, “Abortion. Growing, Growing, Gone.” Definitely a strong statement, but was it disruptive enough for the school to shirt-shame her and force a wardrobe change? Keep reading »
In a recent court decision, South Dakota will enforce a law that forces doctors into guilt-tripping their patients before performing an abortion. As if making the decision isn’t hard enough, now the government requires doctors to read an statement to women that says an abortion will “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being” and may lead you to commit suicide. Um. Yeah. While the court claimed the “burden of proof” rested squarely on Planned Parenthood, perhaps there should be some actual proof to the ludicrous suicide link within the law. Although the safe sex organization argued that making doctors read the statement aloud to their patients was an infringement on the First Amendment, since the medical professionals don’t agree with the ideology, the court still wouldn’t budge. Now that’s scarier than unwanted children! [The International Herald Tribune] Keep reading »