Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.


ACLU Releases Briefing Paper of Women in Solitary Confinement

On Thursday, the ACLU launched a briefing paper, Worse than Second-Class: Solitary Confinement of Women in the United States, that documents the repercussions of subjecting women prisoners to solitary confinement and the reforms needed to address them.


Approximately 20 million Americans, myself included, report some type of hearing problems.  As we age, this problem only grows more acute.  Hearing loss affects a staggering 29% of persons 65 and older.

As the 2014 legislative session comes to a close, I’m still holding my breath for five bills that have made their way to the governor’s desk. The governor has until next week to decide whether to sign, veto, or let the bills pass into law without signature.


The passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973 didn’t just secure women’s constitutional rights to privacy and autonomy in their reproductive health decisions, it also drastically reduced the number of women who die due to complications from illegal abortions. The estimated number of abortions performed in the US has not changed much since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Prior to Roe, it was estimated that approximately 1 million women terminated their pregnancies. In 2008, that number was 1.21 million. In 2011, that number dropped to 1.06 million.


Each Friday, we’ll bring you updates on the latest civil liberties news from Maine and the nation.


Regulating the Prison Telephone Industry

The ACLU has been leading the push for the regulation of prison phone companies and their unfair extortion of inmates and their loved ones. The few companies in control of prison phone lines have been known to charge extremely high rates to prisoners’ families, sometimes reaching as high as $17 for a 15-minute call.


In case you forgot, TWELVE YEARS after the first detainees were brought to the detention center at Guantanano Bay, we still have not managed to complete the special military trials of the men who stand accused of the 9/11 attacks.


As we witness a state by state erosion of abortion rights, we can clearly see particular patterns of attacks that have emerged. Because the right to safe and legal abortion has been guaranteed by the Constitution, state legislators are unable to ban abortions outright. In the past few years, anti-choice advocates and legislators have sought to circumvent the Constitution by introducing bills that chip away at abortion access.


Yesterday, the Maine House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of LD 1686 – a bill that would expand access to the life-saving opioid antagonist, Naloxone (also known as Narcan). If passed, LD 1686 would allow first responders, police and family members of someone at risk of an overdose to possess and administer Naloxone.


It’s been nearly a year since the Guardian and the Washington Post first began publishing reports based on leaks from Edward Snowden, and in the months that followed neither newspaper was immune from criticism.

Publishing articles that expose government misconduct and shine a light on previously undisclosed programs is never easy to do, and yet it is an essential public service protected by no less an authority than the U.S. Constitution.


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