The United Nations called on the Vatican today to immediately remove all clergy known or suspected of child abuse, and turn them over to their respective local authorities. Their Committee on the Rights of the Child accused the Catholic Church of forcing victims into silence, preventing clerics from reporting crimes and moving abusers around in efforts to cover up their crimes. They’re also demanding that the Holy See make their archives documenting the abuse available.
The former Arkansas governor-turned-talking head Mike Huckabee had a completely unsurprising song and dance routine today at the Republican National Committee’s Winter Meeting. He said that any woman who wanted access to birth control is one helpless to control her libido. This comes only weeks after it was discovered that Medicare considers the failure of a male to exercise his libido an “injury” deserving of complete coverage, even as hearing aids aren’t.
“We want no Gestapo or secret police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex life scandals and plain blackmail when they should be catching criminals,” worried Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States. Of course, he had a hand in creating what would become the National Security Agency, or NSA. It’s been over a century since the country began formalizing its intel-gathering aparatus, but we’re still seeing similar tricks.
The United States has stalled. It’s been a week since Congress failed to pass a spending bill to provide the government funding to do what it needs to do. While Congress and the president continue to get paid, some 800,000 furloughed government employees and people who depend on government assistance are on hold without paychecks. It’s tough times nationwide, but online, sex work-lite sites such as Seeking Arrangement and What’s Your Price are reporting a jump in new accounts. Will the shutdown help normalize sex work?
Pornography is work that deserves to be safe. Like nursing, boxing, and other bodily-fluid-intensive jobs, that safety is going to be complicated. What I do know from my brief time as the Nancy Drew of dick identification is that a lot of the laws that get proposed to make porn safer have unexpected side effectsÃ¢â‚¬â€some of which are just as bad as the original problem. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re far more likely to help porn performers if we treat them less as victims in need of protection and more as workers with a stakeÃ¢â‚¬â€and an interestÃ¢â‚¬â€in their own safety.
You can’t go anywhere online without reading something about New York City’s mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner’s refusal to give up sexting even after it cost him his congressional seat. What you don’t see a third as often is that San Diego’s mayor, Bob Filner, is currently being accused — by nine different women — of sexual harassment. I suppose I should be encouraged that people find stories about a guy sexting with apparently consensual playmates more appealing than one about a guy who tells female employees to come to work without wearing panties.
Last week, prime minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron announced that the government would be cracking down on porn by instituting opt-in filters with service providers. Basically, if you live in the U.K., you will be forced to give voice to whether you want access to the “corroding influence” of adult content.
It took two special sessions, working through protests and a filibuster, but governor Rick Perry of Texas finally got to sign into law one of the most restrictive abortion bills we’ve ever seen in the United States. The repercussions are serious: this bill will eliminate 37 out of 42 clinics in the state, basically leaving west Texas without access to clinics at all. So why is the pro-choice movement beating up on a 14-year-old?
The Pain-Capable Infant Protection Act is a bill being debated in the United States that would essentially ban all abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. Republican Michael Burgess made a fascinating argument in favor of an even earlier ban on abortion: fetuses might touch themselves, meaning they might masturbate, meaning they might feel pleasure, meaning they obviously must feel pain.
Dr. George Tiller believed that no woman should ever be forced to continue a pregnancy. Today, on the fourth anniversary of his death, his Kansas clinic has reopened, but it would be folly to consider this a triumph. Since Tiller’s murder, all manner of restrictions on reproductive rights have been leveled against our progress. Unable to intimidate abortion-providers, anti-abortion activists have focused on legislation, creating requirements nearly impossible for clinics to meet. What are we doing to honor the memory of the man who once said, “Trust women”?