Double Dose: Democrats Pick a Fight, Judge Bans the Word “Rape” at Trial, and Another Look at Healthcare in the U.S.
Travels prevented a full double dose, but here are a few stories from last week worth reviewing:
Democrats Pick a Fight Over Abortion: “House Democrats narrowly passed a measure [Thursday] to provide contraceptives to overseas organizations that had been banned from receiving foreign aid because they provided or promoted abortion,” writes Elizabeth Williamson in the Washington Post. “The amendment to an important antiabortion measure in the House foreign aid spending bill was a rebuke to President Bush, who has strictly opposed providing any assistance to groups that promote abortion. The Reagan-era measure, known as the Mexico City policy, was fiercely protected by Bush, who has issued two veto threats over the foreign aid bill should Democrats attempt to alter any of the antiabortion measures it contains.”
The move finally demonstrated some resolve from the Democrats. “It takes time to reverse the damage done by the Republicans,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) told WaPo. “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan said, “Today’s vote marks an important first step toward reversing a seven-year policy to block reproductive health services for women overseas.”
Ellen Marshall at RH Reality Check has more.
Gag on This: Dahlia Lithwick analyzes a Nebraska judge’s decision to ban both sides of a sexual assault trial from using the word “rape.” The woman testifying against her assailant must instead describe the alleged assault as “sex” — and jurors won’t be informed of the language gag order.
“The real question for Judge Cheuvront, then, is whether embedded in the word sex is another ‘legal conclusion’ — that the intercourse was consensual. And it’s hard to conclude otherwise. Go ahead, use the word sex in a sentence,” writes Lithwick. “Asking a complaining witness to scrub the word rape or assault from her testimony is one thing. Asking that she imply that she agreed to what her alleged assailant was doing to her is something else entirely. To put it another way: If the complaining witness in a rape trial has to describe herself as having had “intercourse” with the defendant, should the complaining witness in a mugging be forced to testify that he was merely giving his attacker a loan?”
Care in Need of a Cure: “There is increasing evidence that, despite justified pride in individual institutions and medical breakthroughs, the world’s biggest medical spender isn’t buying its citizens the longest, healthiest lives in the world,” writes Susan Brink, author of this lengthy L.A. Times article on attitudes toward the U.S. healthcare system. “It’s not just moviemakers and comics saying so. The dire message that the U.S. healthcare system is, by some measures, an also-ran on the worldwide stage is being delivered by doctors, researchers — even insurance industry giants.”