By: Danielle Jackson, Online Outreach AssociatePosted on February 24, 2012

Today is our last weekly roundup for February, which has been an interesting month. In today’s roundup, I’ve got an updates on the two reproductive rights bills in Virginia I told you about last week, some info on an exciting new video series we’re launching, good news (!) from Maryland, new Civil Rights museums, the outcome of the tragic Yeardley Love murder case, and a segment from last week’s Saturday Night Live.

First up: the duo of reproductive rights bills in Virginia. There was some… hopeful news on this front over the week. Women from across the state rallied outside the state capitol in Richmond in protest of these bills and Jon Stewart even brought his own brand of humor to the situation. Governor Bob McDonnell released a statement this Wednesday “backing away from the potential requirement in many cases for an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.” While this is good news, it hasn’t completely dismantled the bill – and it’s the entirety of the bill that’s an a problem for women, not solely the mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds.

On the personhood front in Virginia, yesterday we heard that the state’s Senate Committee on Education and Health approved the personhood bill, which sent in on to the state Senate. When it arrived there, the Senate voted 24-14 against it. And while we welcomed this news, the bill isn’t completely dead.  The committee could still take it up again in 2013, which means that this even though this no longer looms imminent, it’s still ongoing concern.

This week, we’re excited to announce that we’ve launched a new video series called “Ask the Experts.” We started this series to help you get answers to questions on issues that are important to you! Our first question focuses on pregnant and parenting students and Title IX, and was answered by our Margaret Fund Fellow Jenny Egan. The video is below – check it out! Do YOU have a question you could use some insight on? Feel free to leave it in the comments and we’ll take a look!


Last week, reader Jenny commented about the same-sex marriage bill making headway in Maryland. At that time the Maryland House of Delegates had just passed the bill, and this week we have some more good news on it: just yesterday the Maryland Senate approved the bill as well, sending it to Governor Martin O’Malley for his signature. O’Malley supports this bill, meaning Maryland should become the eighth state to approve same-sex marriage. Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington signed her state’s same-sex bill into law earlier this month.


View The New York Times Civil Rights Museums SlideshowAnother piece that caught the eye of some of our staff this week:  this article from The New York Times on several new civil rights museums. These include the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a $100 million project to be built in Atlanta, GA and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which broke ground this week and is expected to be complete in 2015.

Accompanying the article is a slideshow with images from some existing museums and monuments, which you can check out here.


This past Wednesday, a sentence was announced in the Yeardley Love murder case. Love’s ex-boyfriend, George Huguely, was found guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny and the jury recommended that the 24-year-old face up to 26 years in prison. (For those of you who need a quick refresher, Love was a member of the University of Virginia’s women’s lacrosse team and was found dead in her apartment near the UVA campus in May 2010. Her ex-boyfriend, Huguely, was a member of the school’s men’s lacrosse team and an immediate suspect in the case.)

Shortly after his conviction was announced, Alexandra Petri of The Washington Post weighed in on the case and brought college “hook-up” culture into the mix. But I tend to agree with Jamelle Bouie over at The American Prospect, who says this isn’t just about “hook-up” culture and alcohol in the college environment. It’s about dating violence and domestic abuse. As documented by TIME’s NewsFeed, Huguely had a history of violent behavior, from threatening a female police officer to attacking a sleeping teammate.

Yes, this case involved alcohol and it involved Love and Huguely’s relationship and their dating other people. But if you took this out of the college framework, I’m not sure you could file it under “consequences of hook-up culture.” When this happens to adults past college age, we call it domestic violence. That’s what this case is about. And no matter if this happened within the frame of dating violence or “hook-up culture,” it’s tragic that Yeardley Love lost her life.


Lastly, be sure to watch this clip from last week’s SNL featuring Amy Poehler & Seth Meyers on the birth control and reproductive rights debates from recent months:


That’s all for this week! What have you been reading? Let us know by sharing a link in the comments or emailing it to me at djackson(at)nwlc(dot)org.