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Victory
Petitioning Connecticut State House, Connecticut State Senate, Ned Lamont

End Forced Pelvic Exams in Connecticut

*Please note that this petition contains clarifications to the original text. Imagine needing surgery. You would worry about a lot of things. Finding the best doctor. Finding the best hospital. Having a complication. Not waking up from the anesthesia. The pain you will experience afterwards. The list goes on. Now imagine having one more worry. But this one isn’t to do with your health. Rather, it is to do with protecting yourself. Protecting yourself from the possibility of forced vaginal or rectal penetration for the purpose of practice/education while you are unconscious and unable to give - or withhold - consent. Would you have the surgery? Would you take that risk? Now you may have a choice to make. Do you protect your health, and indeed, your own life by undergoing the surgery? Or do you protect your body from the potential of an unwanted and unwarranted invasion by not having the surgery, but in doing so risk your health, and maybe even your life? The situation above probably sounds ridiculous to you. It probably sounds like something out of a dystopian novel. But the reality is, this is the situation facing the people of Connecticut right now. Because of language commonly found in medical consent forms, teaching hospitals can have a lot of leeway in the way they use their patients in their teaching practices. Language in consent forms is often written to be broad, particularly surrounding the role of students and trainees in the provision of healthcare, which in many cases consists of only one or two lines, and follows the following formula: “I understand that students and trainees may be involved in my care and consent to treatment by providers in the event of unforeseen events or complications.” Those one or two lines are typically buried in the middle or at the end of a form, which patients often report being rushed to sign by providers or administrators as they are “standard.”  Most patients assume “student involvement” - unless otherwise specified - is limited to observation. Unfortunately in Connecticut, it is not illegal for medical students to practice pelvic and prostate examinations on anesthetized patients without their direct and informed consent.   There is a bill before the Connecticut state legislature right now - HB-5278 (updated to reflect the 2022 assigned bill number) - that would ban the use of non-consensual pelvic and prostate examinations as a part of the medical education process. It will still allow students to practice their clinical skills - it poses no threat to their education or to their ability and opportunity to one day become competent, confident, and experienced clinicians. It simply prohibits students from practicing these invasive examinations on patients who have not given their specific consent. HB-5278 (updated to reflect the 2022 assigned bill number) is the latest iteration of this legislation, which was first introduced in the Connecticut state legislature in 2019 as SB 16. Unfortunately, while other states have acted quickly to enact similar laws, Connecticut’s bill did not even get a hearing during the 2021 legislative session.  The Yale University School of Medicine came out in opposition to the original iteration of this legislation (SB 16 - An Act Prohibiting an Unauthorized Pelvic Exam on a Woman Who is Under Deep Sedation or Anesthesia) in 2019, submitting public testimony to the state legislature stating, in part, that “all consent forms contain specific language explaining the involvement of trainees in the decision making and procedural process.” Please take a moment to judge that for yourself. Sample consent form language - in this case Yale's - reads as follows: “I understand that some of the system hospitals are teaching hospitals. Doctors or other health practitioners who are members of the care team and are in training may help my practitioner with the procedure. I understand the purpose and potential benefits of the procedure in relation to my goals. I give permission to my responsible practitioner to do whatever may be necessary if there is a complication or unforeseen condition during my procedure.” *Disclaimer - Yale's consent form language is provided as an example here as they refer to consent forms in their 2019 public testimony in opposition to SB 16 - An Act Prohibiting an Unauthorized Pelvic Exam on a Woman Who is Under Deep Sedation or Anesthesia cited in the above paragraph.* Tell me - would you define a student or trainee as a “responsible practitioner” in the event of a complication or unforeseen condition? Would any reasonable person? And how does a student’s need for practice - which is in no way unforeseen and can be established ahead of time - fall under that category? And when you sign any consent form, at any medical institution or provider, stating you understand the benefits of a procedure to your goals, would you even begin to imagine that  an intimate examination by a student who is unlicensed conducted for the purpose of them practicing their clinical skills could possibly be covered under that language?  Interestingly enough, medical students from various states have expressed discomfort conducting intimate examinations on patients for the purpose of practice without knowing whether that patient has given direct and informed consent, but did not feel at liberty to voice their discomfort or opt out.  We aren’t asking for much. We aren’t asking teaching institutions to sacrifice the educational opportunities they offer their students, or to take opportunities away from students. We are simply insisting that those opportunities only be offered with the consent of the patients whose bodies they are using. We are insisting that exploitation and abuse no longer play a role in the medical education of our state’s future doctors, and that they are taught the importance of consent early on. And we are insisting that our laws protect us from the dehumanization and indignity of being turned into living teaching tools without our consent. Hospitals exist to serve their patients - patients do not exist to serve hospitals, and we do not owe hospitals the use of our bodies in exchange for necessary healthcare. *Disclaimer - Yale is referred to in this petition due to their 2019 public testimony in opposition to SB 16. It is not the intent of this petition to accuse or in any way allege that the Yale School of Medicine or any of its affiliates or students have ever participated in or are currently participating in these practices.* If you are a Connecticut resident just becoming aware of this practice, please join us in standing up and saying enough by signing this petition and contacting your state representative and senator. If you live outside of Connecticut, please stand in solidarity with our state’s residents and in demanding justice and protection for us when we are at our most vulnerable. In addition to signing below, please consider reaching out to the Public Health Committee at (phtestimony@cga.ct.gov or by phone at (860) 240‑0560. If you are a Connecticut resident, please consider reaching out to your state representative (if you unsure of who yours is, you can find out https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp If you would like to learn more about this issue, please have a look at the following articles: Explicit Consent for Pelvic and Prostate Exams: A Case for CT House Bill 5067https://ctexaminer.com/2021/03/20/explicit-consent-for-pelvic-and-prostate-exams-a-case-for-ct-house-bill-5067/ Providers Are Sexually Assaulting Patients — and It’s Legalhttps://www.healthline.com/health/nonconsensual-internal-exams-sexual-assault#1 Medical Students Regularly Practice Pelvic Exams On Unconscious Patients. https://www.elle.com/life-love/a28125604/nonconsensual-pelvic-exams-teaching-hospitals/

Livia Fry
110,449 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Senator John McKinney

Keep Sandy Hook crime scene information private: Urge the CT legislature to pass HB 6424

We are parents and family members who lost children in the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012. We're coming together to urge the Connecticut legislature to pass a law that would keep sensitive information, including photos and audio, about this tragic day private and out of the hands of people who'd like to misuse it for political gain. Michael Moore and the hoaxers want to publish this gruesome information. For the sake of the surviving children and families, it's important to keep this information private. Other gruesome scenes have been kept private -- like the scene around Congresswoman Giffords shooting, Vince Foster's suicide, and Dale Earnhardt's automobile accident. This crime has received such international attention, it should be afforded the same treatment. Supported by: Nicole & Ian Hockley (parents of Dylan), Mark & Jackie Barden (parents of Daniel), Jimmy Greene & Nelba Marquez-Greene (parents of Ana), Jeremy Richman & Jennifer Hensel (parents of Avielle), Erica Lafferty (Dawn Hochsprung's daughter), Shannon & Brian Engel (Olivia's parents), Michele & Bob Gay (Josephine's parents), and Tricia & Dean Pinto (Jack's parents)

Nicole & Ian Hockley (parents of Dylan), Mark & Jackie Barden (parents of Daniel), and Jimmy Greene & Nelba Marquez-Greene (parents of Ana)
107,076 supporters
Petitioning Donald Trump, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Department of Veterans Affairs, Alabama State Senate, Alabama State House, Alabama Governor, Florida State Senate, Florida State House, Flo...

Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!

I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!

Terra Jackson
34,705 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Connecticut State Senate, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut State House, Connecticut Governor, Joe Courtney, Elizabeth H. Esty, Rosa L. DeLauro, James A. Himes, John B. Larson, Ned Lamont, Themis Kla...

My sister with MS was brutally attacked & now her attacker is getting a lenient plea deal.

In March of this year, my sister, Lori Weirzbicki, was brutally attacked and strangled in her home.  Lori is disabled with multiple sclerosis and the unprovoked attack was committed by Russell Molleur, a recently evicted neighbor of my sister’s affordable housing complex in Milford, CT.  Her attacker had previous arrests for threatening another neighbor with a knife and even had pending charges against him for unlawfully restraining a mentally handicapped man, forcing him to watch pornography and exposing himself to the mentally handicapped man.  During my sister’s attack, Russell Molleur strangled my sister to the point of unconsciousness repeatedly and everytime she came to, he would punch her full force in the face.  He dragged her around her apartment, slamming her head into her coffee table and walls, and then forced her to undress and shower in an attempt to clean off some of the large amount of blood that was lost.  Lori luckily survived but now the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office in Milford (led by Margaret E Kelley and her assistant Chuck Stango) have offered her attacker a plea deal. They have reduced the assault charge, dropped three other charges entirely, and chosen not to charge him with assault of a disabled person (a class B felony with a mandatory minimum of five years jail time), despite my sister’s multiple sclerosis. Judge Peter Brown will only sentence her attacker to no more than two years jail MAXIMUM on January 22nd, and may even release him.  This is a miscarriage of justice and I can not sit by idly while my sister, who has little means, is left voiceless and without justice.  Please show your support by signing this petition and letting our Connecticut Judicial System know that we will not be lenient with those who abuse women and the disabled.  I’m begging you for your help in my sister’s time of need.  Don’t let her be traumatized for a second time by a faulty justice system.  This plea deal needs to be thrown out or have the appropriate charges added.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Justice For Lori FB Page can be found at the following link.  Please visit, like and share! https://www.facebook.com/justice4lori/  

Timothy McLaughlin
19,293 supporters
Petitioning Connecticut State Senate, Connecticut Governor, Connecticut State House

Help Us Stop A Connecticut Bear hunt!

Two Connecticut State Senators are using a recent "bear attack" to promote bills that call for the hunting of Connecticut's black bears.  The Senators who are pushing these bills have jumped at the opportunity to sell this "attack" as a reason for a hunt. A limited hunt is not the answer to reducing bear populations or bear-human conflicts.  Connecticut black bear sightings are on the rise, but that does not equate to overpopulation. Bears possess a biological ability known as delayed implantation. Delayed implantation allows bears to regulate their own populations. When food is abundant, more bears will be born. When there is a lack of abundant food sources, female bears will not reproduce every two years, but alternatively every three to four years. Hunting can increase populations by inadvertently leaving more food for surviving bears. This occurrence is known as compensatory reproduction. Deforestation is responsible for the loss of critical bear habitat. We often don’t consider the impact this has on bears and other wildlife. Land development and bear attractants such as unsecured garbage are most likely the cause of increased bear-human conflicts, not overpopulation. Education is the key to coexistence with bears. Research shows that eliminating bear attractants and securing trash in bear-proof trashcans can reduce or eliminate bear encounters by over 90%.  In reality, bears are generally shy, elusive animals whose diets consist predominantly of vegetation. Bears are not the man-eating monsters that people who wish to hunt them would like you to believe. Unprovoked bear attacks are extremely rare. According to bear expert Lynn Rogers, Ph.D. of the North American Bear Center says you are 45 times more likely to be killed by a dog, 120 times more likely to be killed by bees, and 60,000 times more likely to be murdered by another human being, than to be killed by a black bear. Please take the poll at the link below and vote NO to a Connecticut bear hunt! https://www.wfsb.com/news/state-senators-recommend-bear-hunting-season-following-southbury-attack/article_8a76e242-e3b5-11e9-b970-c332f57d7d43.html https://www.beardefenders.org

OneProtest
14,400 supporters
Petitioning Minnesota State House, Minnesota State Senate, Connecticut State Senate, Connecticut State House, Illinois State House, Illinois State Senate, Maine State House, Maine State Senate

Abolish the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault

The historic trial of Bill Cosby for his acts of sexual violence took place this month. While more than 60 women have spoken out against him, Cosby only faced trial for the criminal violence he committed against a single woman. The law that exists preventing many survivors from prosecuting Cosby for the crimes perpetrated against them is a law that still exists in 30 states including Maine, Illinois, Connecticut, and Minnesota. Cosby survivor and artist Lili Bernard shares her story: "In the early 1990s, Bill Cosby mentored me as I prepared for my guest-starring role on The Cosby Show. After he had won my complete trust and adoration, he drugged me and raped me. When I told him that I would report him to the police, he threatened serious consequences to my life. In 1992, during our last contact, he said to me, “As far as I’m concerned, Bernard, you’re dead. Do you hear me? You’re dead, Bernard. You don’t exist.” I interpreted that as a death threat and feared for my life. In the spring of 2015, empowered by dozens of brave women who publicly disclosed the abuse they suffered at the hands of Bill Cosby, I finally shed the fear and filed a police report against him in the state of New Jersey, in which an assault occurred. However, despite the evidence I saved and the witnesses willing to testify on my behalf, Cosby could not be considered for prosecution because the assault occurred a few months outside of the statute of limitations." Statutes of limitations on rape and sexual assaults are a predator’s best friend and a victim’s worst nightmare. An overwhelming amount of sexual violence -- an estimated 63% -- goes unreported and a pervasive rape culture is responsible. As we work to reduce the impact of social silencing mechanisms, we must dually eliminate laws that bar many sexual assault survivors from seeking the justice they deserve. The election to the highest office in our country of Donald J. Trump - a known sexual predator - cast a great shadow over justice for survivors of sexual assault. It is incumbent upon us all, now more than ever, to take real action to show our country’s most vulnerable that we stand with them. In September 2016, California became the 20th state to abolish the timeline for reporting rape and sexual assault. The bill - which does not change the burden of evidence required to press charges - passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously before being signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Senator Connie Leyva, who filed the bill, said that it "shows victims and survivors that California stands behind them, that we see rape as a serious crime, that victims can come forward and that justice now has no time limit.” Senator Leyva was recently recognized by the California Women’s Law Center for her work on the legislation. Elected Representatives - if there is one thing you could do to push back against the rape culture further enabled by the current White House administration, it would be to ensure that justice is served in your state. Abolish the statute of limitations on rape and sexual assault in your state, and ensure that every survivor has a chance at justice in our legal system.  Justice knows no time limit. 

End Rape Statute of Limitations
10,352 supporters