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.”
Keep reading »
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 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 »