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Novara's Journal
Novara's Journal
July 1, 2015

Macy's Cuts Ties With Trump Over Racist Remarks

Source: Huffington Post

Macy's is done with Donald Trump.

The department store said Wednesday it has cut ties with the billionaire Republican presidential hopeful, who said last month that Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists."

Macy's said it will phase out a Trump menswear collection that has been sold at the retailer since 2004.

"We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico," the Cincinnati-based company said in a statement. "We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation."

The move comes after more than 728,000 people singed a MoveOn.org petition urging Macy's to dump Trump.

The retailer is the latest to cut ties with Trump over his comments.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/macys-donald-trump_n_7705710.html

July 1, 2015

Female pastors in Clarendon County receive letters threatening their safety

Source: WISTV

CLARENDON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Two Clarendon County pastors say they have been targeted with threats of violence just because they are women.

The two pastors received letters where the writer used Bible verses to threaten the women, leaving them concerned about their safety. One letter was left on the front door of Society Hill AME Church on June 10th for Pastor Mary Rhodes.

“Whoever wrote this letter has taken the rime to find out who I am which means you may know my children, my grandchildren, and I have no clue who you are” Pastor Rhodes said.

Four days later, Pastor Valarie Bartley received the same letter at Reevesville AME Church.

The writer, who identifies as Apostle Prophet Harry Leon Fleming, says in the letter that “the woman cannot be head of the man in church, home and the world.”

Read more: http://m.wistv.com/wistv/db_330790/contentdetail.htm?full=true&contentguid=oOcqGn4u&pn=&ps=#display

And the right wing is worried about Sharia law? Looks a lot like Christian Sharia Law here.
July 1, 2015

Texas Clinics Can Stay Open, But the War on Abortion Access is Far From Over

Texas Clinics Can Stay Open, But the War on Abortion Access is Far From Over

Yesterday, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked Texas from enforcing two new requirements – requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers and requiring providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Justice Kennedy joined Justices Kagan, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor to keep 10 endangered clinics open while the Court decides whether to hear the appeal.

So what does this mean? Well, it means a lot of things. First and foremost, it means that Texas abortion clinics can stay open because the Supreme Court has ruled that they do not have to comply with some of the restrictive provisions set forth in HB2. If this law is allowed to go into effect, all but nine clinics will be forced to close. As our own Gina Loukareas noted, 5.4 million Texas women of reproductive age, in the second largest state in America, would be forced to travel hundreds of miles to access a safe abortion. For low-income women, this will not be an option. Many are already taking matters into their own hands as other facets of this heinous bill have imposed other onerous restrictions. But remember: this is just a stay, which is a temporary order while the Court decides whether or not it wants to hear the appeal brought forth by those trying to preserve safe abortion care in Texas (including Whole Women’s Health and our allies at the Center for Reproductive Rights).

Yesterday was also a tepid victory for Mississippi women. The Supreme Court took no action in response to the state’s petition allowing them to close the last abortion clinic in the entire state, Jackson Women’s Health Center. Because the Supreme Court took no action, the previous hold on the TRAP law designed to close the clinic is still in effect, which means that, for the next few months, anyway, the clinic stays open. Often called The Pink House because of its colorful exterior, this clinic is it for Mississippi women. In a state where nearly a quarter of its citizens live below the poverty line, traveling out of state simply isn’t an option. It’s either the Pink House or no safe abortion care. (To learn more about the Pink House, read our Clinic Escort Story with Pink House defender Michele Colon.)

The Texas ruling and the lack of action on the Mississippi case signal that the Supreme Court will almost certainly take up a case about abortion rights, possibly even this one. While liberals are decidedly giddy about this ideologically conservative Supreme Court upholding Obamacare (twice), legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, and upholding the Fair Housing Act, we cannot mistake these rulings for an overall trend, particularly when it comes to abortion rights. If there is a trend with the Supreme Court regarding abortion, it is almost always restrictive. Just nine years ago, in Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on an uncommon second trimester abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation (D and E). In 1992’s Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court did uphold the right to an abortion, but said that states can restrict abortion without imposing an “undue burden” on women seeking that care. If laws designed to close every safe abortion clinic in the state isn’t an undue burden, I don’t know what is.

Let’s also remember that the stay was granted on a razor thin 5-4 order; Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito would all have denied the stay. On this issue (and many others, it seems), Justice Kennedy is the swing vote, and in this instance he swung our way. But Justice Kennedy’s track record is anything but comforting; he has shown no qualms about restricting abortion rights. So essentially, your right to access a safe and legal abortion rests on how he rules on this issue. Women’s reproductive rights are in the hands of a man. How appropriate.

It is heartening to see the Supreme Court step in to preserve what little access is left in Texas. But it’s important to remember that this is only temporary, and as of now, it only applies to Texas. Sadly, the attacks on safe abortion access aren’t limited to the Lone Star state.

Read more: http://www.aisfor.org/texas-clinics-can-stay-open-but-the-war-on-abortion-access-is-far-from-over/#sthash.U7HLhdOY.dpbs
June 28, 2015

What the Supreme Courtís marriage equality ruling means for reproductive rights

What the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling means for reproductive rights

There’s a little Easter egg in Friday’s marriage equality ruling that could have major repercussions for reproductive rights activists — if and when the Supreme Court takes up the issue of abortion again.

In his opinion for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy references the interplay of “personal choice” as it relates to same-sex marriage. But, in doing so, he also acknowledges the way individual autonomy relates to other life decisions, such as the right to use contraception or have a baby:

A first premise of the Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. …Like choices concerning contraception, family relationships, procreation, and childrearing, all of which are protected by the Constitution, decisions concerning marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.

Let’s string some things together here: “choices concerning contraception…procreation, and childrearing…are protected by the Constitution.” It’s a single line, but it’s no throwaway — especially not in a SCOTUS decision that affirms equal access to happiness and control over one’s own life. It could set a precedent that’s invaluable to the fight to secure reproductive rights once and for all.

June 25, 2015

Judge Blocks Kansas' Ban on 2nd-Trimester Abortion Procedure

Judge Blocks Kansas' Ban on 2nd-Trimester Abortion Procedure

A Kansas judge on Thursday blocked the state's first-in-the-nation ban on an abortion procedure that opponents refer to as "dismemberment abortion."

The decision from Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks came in a lawsuit filed from the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights. The center represents two Kansas abortion providers and argued the law would force women to undergo riskier procedures or forgo abortions.

The judge's order will stay in effect while he considers the lawsuit further. The new law was supposed to take effect July 1.

It bans a second-trimester procedure that anti-abortion activists call "dismemberment abortion" and was model legislation from the National Right to Life Committee. Kansas was the first state to enact it.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/kansas-judge-weighs-nations-1st-ban-abortion-method-32013638
June 25, 2015

What Teenage Boys Should Know About Teenage Girls

What Teenage Boys Should Know About Teenage Girls

Among my oldest and best friends are men I became friends with when we were teenagers. For the most part, like teenagers today, we thought of ourselves as equals. We went to the same schools, socialized together, participated in sports meets at the same time, eventually worked in similar jobs and generally assumed that our lives were very much the same. Once in a while though, I still have conversations with one of these friends, or with my husband or brothers, and I am genuinely taken aback by some of the jarring gaps in our understanding of the world. Our lives, beginning when we were teenagers, have distinctly different aspects and are affected in ways that teenagers today are usually still not talking about. As young as 11 or 12, different rules and double standards based on gender begin to alter our day-to-day experiences in subtle, and often not-so-subtle, ways.

Just as your physical horizons are expanding, those of the girls you know are usually shrinking, something that girls have as much interest in as you would if it happened to you. The U.S. has a double-digit safety gap, meaning there is very big chance that in many places where you feel safe, the girls you know simply don't. There are places and activities that you might take for granted, such as going for a run in the evening or at night, along a park path or a river, that girls often cannot engage in. It's very frustrating to be told you are equal, to feel independent and strong and to have to adapt to a specific kind of vulnerability.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/what-teenage-boys-should-know-about-teenage-girls_b_7623350.html


(This is one of my favorite writers on feminism and gender issues.)
June 19, 2015

Democrats reintroduce legislation to repeal Michiganís controversial abortion law

Democrats reintroduce legislation to repeal Michigan’s controversial abortion law

In 2013, Michigan made national news — and not in a good way — for passing a law that forces women to buy additional health insurance for necessary medical care during a miscarriage or abortion, even in cases of rape and when the woman’s health is in jeopardy. The legislation was signed into law despite a public outcry and the advice of doctors, who warn the law is poorly worded and may prevent women from getting the care they need as a result.

Today, State Representative Sarah Roberts and State Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr., have introduced House Bill 4764 and Senate Bill 63, respectively, to repeal the law that took effect in March 2014. Rep. Roberts explained why repeal is necessary.

This regressive law hurts women when they are most vulnerable and puts unreasonable barriers between them and the healthcare they need. A woman experiencing a miscarriage should have the peace of mind of knowing that she will receive safe and necessary medical care. This law instead injects politics into an already difficult situation, while potentially forcing a family to incur thousands of dollars of debt for care that had been traditionally covered by insurance. Prohibiting insurance companies and employers from doing what’s best for the women they serve and care for is wrong and must be stopped immediately.

The law doesn’t mandate that insurers provide this coverage, and of the 42 health insurers in Michigan only eight offer the insurance rider. Although some employer-sponsored plans in Michigan offer the rider, women are forced to give up their privacy by asking their employer to provide them with the extra coverage. Not one of the Michigan plans available for purchase directly by consumers offers the coverage, meaning many women can’t buy the insurance rider at any price.

Republicans passed the law prohibiting insurance companies from offering comprehensive insurance after Right to Life of Michigan gathered signatures for a citizen’s initiative. Legislators had a choice to adopt the measure or put it to a vote of the people — with polling clearly showing Michiganders opposing the law. But Republicans gave in to special interest pressure and passed it into law.

Read more: http://www.eclectablog.com/2015/06/democrats-reintroduce-legislation-to-repeal-michigans-controversial-abortion-law.html
June 19, 2015

Iowa Supreme Court: Ban on telemed abortion unconstitutional

Iowa Supreme Court: Ban on telemed abortion unconstitutional

Iowa's Supreme Court ruled Friday that Planned Parenthood of the Heartland may keep using its controversial telemedicine-abortion system.

More than 7,200 Iowa women have used the system to obtain abortion-inducing pills since 2008. The system, the first of its kind in the nation, allows Planned Parenthood doctors in Des Moines or Iowa City to interact via video with patients in outlying clinics, then dispense the pills to the women.

State regulators, appointed by Iowa's anti-abortion governor, ruled in 2013 that the system should effectively be banned because of purported safety concerns. The ban was put on hold while Planned Parenthood appealed in court. A district judge sided with the regulators in 2014, but the Supreme Court disagreed Friday.

The justices ruled 6-0 that the rule violated women's rights under the state and federal constitutions. The court noted that telemedicine is being used to provide many other types of health care. But the Iowa Board of Medicine only focused on telemedicine's use for abortion when it imposed a requirement that doctors perform an in-person physical exam on patients, the justices wrote. "It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the board's medical concerns about telemedicine are selectively limited to abortion."

The Supreme Court determined the medical board's rule imposed an unconstitutional "undue burden" on women's right to abortion. It noted that national standards do not require a physician to perform a physical examination on a woman before providing a medication abortion. The court also noted that other staff members in the outlying Planned Parenthood clinics draw blood, take medical histories and perform sonograms on the patients, which are transmitted to the physicians. The justices wrote that they didn't see proof that an in-person exam by a doctor would "provide any measurable gain in patient safety."

The case is being watched nationally, because abortion providers in other states have considered setting up similar systems. This is believed to be the first time in more than 40 years that the state Supreme Court has considered an abortion case.

Read more: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/19/iowa-supreme-court-approves-planned-parenthood-heartland-telemedicine-abortion-system/28973085/
June 17, 2015

Menís rights fanatics defend Iowa mall shooter fired for sexual harassment: Itís Ďhard to blame himí

Men’s rights fanatics defend Iowa mall shooter fired for sexual harassment: It’s ‘hard to blame him’

Several members of the men’s rights movement have offered qualified support for a former Iowa mall security guard who shot and killed a 20-year-old woman Friday night after he was reportedly fired because the woman complained that he was sexually harassing her.

David Futrelle reported that commenters at a “red pillers” forum expressed sympathy for open carry advocate Alex Kozak, who they believe was unfairly treated by a system that takes sexual harassment complaints too seriously.

The so-called “red pillers” believe that society favors women over men, disenfranchising them and leaving them subject to laws and societal rules they feel are unjust to their gender.

According to Futrelle, members of the forum jumped to the defense of Kozak once they heard that sexual harassment accusations had been leveled against the married former mall cop, presumably leading to his shooting Andrea Farrington three times in the back with a 9mm handgun.

“Like rape, does the term sexual harassment pretty much no longer have any real meaning? IE it’s safe to assume there’s no chance this guy actually touched her or said anything overtly lewd?” wrote a commenter named Ziltoid, before adding, “As somebody who’s been job hunting for some time now picturing being fired, in this job market, over some twit finding you ‘creepy’… Sad to say I’m finding it hard to blame him.”

While some found Ziltoid’s comments “creepy,” others joined in by attacking the young woman who was shot, with one writing, “As far as I’m concerned, his being guilty of not giving these bitches the tingles is what caused him to get fired, and in turn, murder this chick.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/06/mens-rights-fanatics-defend-iowa-mall-shooter-fired-for-sexual-harassment-its-hard-to-blame-him/
June 16, 2015

The Constitutionality of Anti-Abortion License Plates is Up for Debate

The Constitutionality of Anti-Abortion License Plates is Up for Debate


The renewed attention to these plates comes on the heels of a Guttmacher Institute report on “Choose Life” license plates. The report shows that there are currently 28 states that allow these types of plates, and out of those states 15 allow the money raised to go directly to anti-abortion organizations. The report also notes that “reproductive health activists have challenged some of these policies, arguing that it is unconstitutional for a state to endorse one political viewpoint over another.”

Last year, for example, an appellate court in North Carolina upheld a judge’s ruling that the “Choose Life” license plate was unconstitutional because although the DMV allowed the plate, it had rejected designs with messages like “Trust Women” and “Respect Choice.” The judges argued that the disparity between those two decisions constituted a limitation on free speech. Plaintiffs in the North Carolina case wanted to bring it to the Supreme Court, but their plans were put on hold in December 2014 when the court took up a different case involving license plate constitutionality.

Judge Rosemary Pooler, who gave the majority decision in the N.Y. case, opposed “the perception of State endorsement” entwined with the offensive nature of an anti-abortion license plate. North Carolina appellate Judge James A. Wynn thought the problem wasn’t about state involvement but about free speech; regardless of the message, the DMV shouldn’t be able to practice “blatant viewpoint discrimination squarely at odds with the First Amendment.” The number of states with “Choose Life” programs has risen over the years, so these types of cases may soon become more common.

Read more: http://msmagazine.com/blog/2015/06/15/the-constitutionality-of-anti-abortion-license-plates-is-up-for-debate/

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