Military Rape Documentary The Invisible War Does Not Win Oscar
Last night, The Invisible War, a documentary on rape in the United States military, was considered for the 2013 Oscar for "Best Documentary Feature."
The Invisible War chronicles the ongoing epidemic of rape and sexual assault perpetrated within the ranks, and the military's failure to adequately prosecute the perpetrators of such crimes. In addition to raising awareness of the issue among the public, the film has led to policy changes within the Department of Defense and the adoption of a series of amendments passed in the most recent National Defense Authorization Act aimed at increasing accountability and victim care.
One of the lawsuits featured in the film, Klay v. Panetta, was dismissed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on February 7th. An earlier case, Cioca v. Rumsfeld and Gates, is currently pending in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals after a ruling in the Eastern District of Virginia that rape and sexual assault are incident to military service.
Though The Invisible War did not win the Oscar for "Best Documentary," the film's nomination has brought national attention to the wide spread occurrence of intra-military sexual assault. More information on the reform effort can be found at www.notinvisible.org. If you would like to purchase The Invisible War it is available through iTunes and Amazon.
Media Resources: Daily Beast 2/23/2013; InvisibleWar.com
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .