Sarah’s News Roundup 04.13.19

Lady Law Statue
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner has been ordered to to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 20 years.

A New York City judge designated Weiner a Level 1 offender under the state’s version of Megan’s Law, meaning that he is thought to have a low risk of reoffending.

Weiner is near the end of a 21 month prison sentence for having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old girl.

He will be released May 14 but still faces three years of court supervision and is required to verify his address every year, notify the state within 10 days of moving and visit a police station for a new photo to be taken every three years.

Because of his low-level status Weiner’s information won’t show up in the state’s online sex offender registry but will be available via a toll-free telephone number.

Actress Allison Mack has pleaded guilty to racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges related to the suspected sex cult Nxivm.

In a statement Ms Mack admitted to recruiting women by telling them they were joining a female mentorship group.

In court Ms Mack said she was instructed by leader Keith Raniere to collect compromising materials and images of two women within the group and to threaten to make the photos public if the women revealed information about the secret society.

She said: “I believed Keith Raniere’s intentions were to help people. I was wrong.”

On its website Nxivm describes itself as a “community guided by humanitarian principles that seek to empower people and answer important questions about what it means to be human”.

However Raniere stands accused of overseeing a “slave and master” system within the group and prosecutors allege the group mirrors a pyramid scheme, in which members paid thousands of dollars on courses to rise within its ranks.

Female recruits were allegedly branded with Raniere’s initials and expected to have sex with him.

Ms Mack had previously pleaded not guilty in April 2018 to charges including sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and forced labour.

She is scheduled to be sentenced in September and will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each charge.

Texas lawmakers have been considering the death penalty for women who have abortions with house bill 896.

The bill aimed to criminalise all abortion, defining the procedure as homicide which is punishable by death in Texas.

The proposed legislation would have banned abortion at every stage of pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest or where the health of the mother was at risk, and it would have modified Texas’ state penal code to allow both women and abortion providers to be charged with murder.

The bill defined an embryo as “a living human child” beginning at “the moment of fertilization” and an embryo would have been afforded the same “rights, powers, and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child.”

The bill faced substantial backlash and 54 people, including legal experts and business leaders as well as those from the women’s rights community, spoke out against it at a hearing.

Representative Jeff Leach said that although he passionately identifies as “pro-life” he believed this bill would shift the cause in the “wrong direction”:

“My commitment to advancing the pro-life cause is stronger than ever and that’s why I cannot in good conscience support House Bill 896. Trusted pro-life legislators and advocates agree with me that this bill moves our state and the pro-life cause in the wrong direction and it will not be advanced.”

Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine has signed a so-called “Heartbeat Bill” which would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected at around six weeks into pregnancy – before a woman might even know she is pregnant.

The bill would make it a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, for a doctor who fails to test for a fetal heartbeat or proceeds with abortion after detecting it.

The State Medical Board could also take action against the doctor’s license and levy an additional fine of $20,000 to fuel a fund supporting foster-care and adoption services.

ACLU legal director Freda Levenson said:

“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional, and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked. S.B. 23 is one of the most aggressive, oppressive, and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country. A nearly identical bill in Kentucky was just struck down by a federal judge. We feel confident our impending litigation will ultimately prevail.”

Lawsuits have been filed against similar laws passed in Iowa, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi and North Dakota.

So far none of those laws have been allowed to take effect and the US Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear a state’s appeal of those decisions.

Nevertheless the bill’s supporters hope that the Supreme Court’s more conservative bench, aided by Trump’s appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, will use it as a vehicle to undermine the landmark 1973 decision on Roe vs Wade.

The third annual #icantkeepquietday was celebrated on April 8 with an online collaboration project.

Musician, artist, activist and founder of the #icantkeepquiet movement MILCK described it:

“Some of us will share a story of overcoming.

Some of us will use the stories as inspiration to create art in response.

Some will do both.

Either way, storytelling and art are the mothers of peace.”

Both the stories and art are available to see at and on social media under milckmusic.

Sarah x




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