It’s been a busy summer. So busy, in fact, that we wanted to reach out to give you a brief round-up of some of what’s been going in case you haven’t been able to keep up.
WLP’s Terry L. Fromson Honored as a Trailblazer
We’re thrilled to share the news that Women’s Law Project Managing Attorney Terry L. Fromson is being honored with a prestigious award by the American Bar Association for spearheading legal reform to improve systemic response to violence against women.
Fromson will be honored along with Vice President Joe Biden, who introduced the Violence Against Women Act in 1990, Senator Patrick Leahy, and other visionary leaders from across the country.
Terry will receive her well-deserved award on August 1 during a ceremony in Chicago.
You can read the full story here.
Women’s Law Project Stands with Planned Parenthood
This week, we’ve seen cynical politicians use deceptively edited video as a pretext to attack, and try to defund, Planned Parenthood. There is a lot of misinformation out there, so if you haven’t had a chance to sort through the coverage yet, we suggest you begin with this investigation by FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Center of the University of Pennsylvania. FactCheck’s findings clearly debunk the claims made by the creators of the videos, and the lies told by anti-choice activists seeking to use them for political gain.
The edited video, released July 14 by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, leaves the impression that [senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood] was talking about Planned Parenthood affiliates making money from fetal tissue. But the edited video ignores other things [she] said that contradict [their claim].
The fact is that some Planned Parenthood affiliates, with the consent of their patients, legally and lawfully enable patients who choose to donate fetal tissue for biomedical research to do so. As repeatedly stated—but edited out—of the video, Planned Parenthood does not profit from this service.
These attacks are not simply attacks on Planned Parenthood. They are also an attacks on biomedical research, and a cynical attempt to use propaganda to subvert ethical and legal scientific research.
Anti-choice extremists will go to any length to stigmatize abortion providers, politicize women’s health, and try to restrict abortion. It is shameful that they are politicizing tissue donation for further their agenda.
We are not deceived, and will not be bullied. We #StandwithPP.
Women’s Law Project Fights to Protect the Buffer Zone in Pittsburgh
After federal courts repeatedly upheld Pittsburgh’s 15-foot clinic buffer zone ordinance, opponents of legal abortion are still fighting to knock it down.
This week, Women’s Law Project attorneys and Thomas E. Zemaitis, a partner at the private law firm Pepper Hamilton LLP, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Pro-Choice Escorts.
The fight in Pittsburgh is an important one, with implications for the safety of patients and providers across the country, so we will keep you posted.
You can read the full story here.
Calling for an investigation into the death of Sandra Bland
On July 10, a 28-year-old black woman named Sandra Bland was driving in Texas when she was pulled over for failing to signal while changing lanes.
Three days later, Bland was found dead in a jail cell. Authorities say she committed suicide, but the family are suspicious of that claim. According to CNN, county officials didn’t provide proof that jail staff had two hours of annual training with “the local mental health authorities … in accordance with their approved Mental Disabilities/Suicide Prevention Plan.” They also failed to check in with her as frequently as the law requires.
Authorities released video of the arrest, which shows an irate police trooper threaten to “light her up” with a taser, and then yank Bland out of the car. Off camera, Bland is heard yelling, “You are about to break my wrist!”
You can watch the arrest video here.
As advocates for women’s equality, we must speak out against violence against women of color. We urge you to sign this petition calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to open a federal investigation into the death of Sandra Bland.
We will continue to #SayHerName.
WLP Sets the Record Straight on “Histrionic” Criticism of Campus Rape Adjudication Processes
Recently, the editorial board of the Legal Intelligencer newspaper published a disturbing, ill-informed op-ed criticizing Title IX and current efforts to improve how colleges adjudicate allegations of rape on campus.
It is one thing when a debate centers on interpretation and opinion; it is another when discussion is plagued by the willful distortion of law in order to make a point. In their response to the Legal Intelligencer’s op-ed, Women’s Law Project Executive Director Carol E. Tracy and Managing Attorney Terry L. Fromson emphasize the fact that rape on campus is both a crime and a civil rights violation, and there must be remedies in both of these spheres.
From the op-ed:
Sexual assault victims—on or off campus—have been mistreated, mischaracterized, and essentially profiled as liars. It is time to stop. Instead of providing readers with thoughtful, nuanced legal analysis of the differences between the civil and criminal justice systems and school disciplinary proceedings, the editorial board confused them while recycling biased, outdated myths and stereotypes about rape victims. In 2015, The Legal should be finding and correcting these historic biases, not amplifying them.
Read the rest of the piece here.
Text: Tara Murtha, WLP Staff
Image: Planned Parenthood