Law

New book supports Marissa Alexander’s legal defense

Marissa Alexander appeared in court Friday morning to request a new Stand Your Ground immunity hearing, hoping for a chance to demonstrate that the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband justified her use of a warning shot to defend herself. To support her legal defense, Prison Culture will be selling No Selves to Defend: A Legacy of Criminalizing Women of Color for Self Defense, an anthology of stories, poetry, and original art about women of color who have been imprisoned for defending themselves.

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A big day for marriage equality in Oregon and Utah

On Monday, a federal judge threw out Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, on the basis that the state’s marriage laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The judge put his ruling into effect immediately, and couples began marrying across Oregon immediately after that, having lined up outside courthouses around the state in anticipation of the ruling. Also on Monday, a federal judge ordered that Utah recognize 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after the state’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned, but before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the original ruling. Monday was a big day for love.

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What would you do if you needed an abortion in a country where it’s outlawed?

I’m in Brazil right now with the wonderful International Reporting Project, and while here I spoke with a young woman who, like many women around the world, got pregnant when she didn’t want to be. Here in Brazil, abortion is generally illegal. After trying several different methods unsuccessfully and reaching out to a variety of slightly-shady people for help, she decided to go the safest route: To say she had been raped and get a safe, legal abortion in a Brazilian hospital. Her story is here. Women in this country are understandably very afraid to speak with anyone about abortion, and lots of women die or are injured from unsafe procedures. I’m particularly grateful to this young woman, who I’m calling Juliana, for her generosity, her honesty and her courage in sharing an extremely complicated story.

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Anita Hill, 20 Years Later

Twenty-three years ago, Anita Hill testified before Congress in the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, who is now a Supreme Court justice. Hill’s testimony brought the term “sexual harassment” into the general American lexicon, and changed the way we talk about gender, power and the workplace. At the time, Hill was vilified by the media and treated horribly by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her testimony, and the hostility she faced, galvanized women and feminists across the U.S. On Friday, a new documentary called “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” will be released. I’ve seen it, and it’s excellent — go check it out.

Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Hill — one of my personal heroes — and to interview her for Cosmopolitan. You can read the whole thing here. A bit of it:

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AL HB31: Where saving a woman’s life becomes a question of conscience

Conscience laws. Fucking conscience laws. In this case, the fucking “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” Alabama HB31, which would allow the entire hospital staff, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and social workers, to refuse to provide medical care in situations that would “violate their conscience.”

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