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Novara's Journal
Novara's Journal
July 31, 2015

The latest anti-choice move: try to take custody of a woman's fetus

The latest anti-choice move: try to take custody of a woman's fetus

States have tried all sorts of things to prevent women from having abortions. They’ve enacted waiting periods, ultrasound laws and parental notifications. They’ve passed laws that force doctors to lie to women and force women to visit with ideological zealots. Some legislators have even attempted to make women get a man’s consent before obtaining the procedure – a paternalistic permission slip to access their legal rights.

But Alabama has brought efforts to restrict abortion to a whole new level, as the state tried this week to stop a woman from getting an abortion by terminating her parental rights... to her fetus.

District attorney Chris Connolly filed a petition to terminate an incarcerated woman’s parental rights for the sole purpose of stopping her from ending her pregnancy. The woman, known as Jane Doe, had filed a lawsuit in order to be granted a furlough to obtain the procedure. Connolly told a local paper, “Our position, if the termination for parental rights is granted, is that [she] would not have standing to obtain the abortion.” He’s arguing that Doe’s parental rights should be rescinded because she is facing charges of chemical endangerment of a child.

Alabama ACLU legal director Randall Marshall, one of the woman’s lawyers, told the Huffington Post that this is the first time the state has used these charges to try to prevent an abortion. “It appears to me that what the state is attempting to do is turn Jane Doe into a vessel, and control every aspect of her life,” he said.

If this dystopian Handmaid’s Tale nonsense wasn’t bad enough, Doe’s fetus was even appointed an attorney, thanks to a law passed in 2014 allowing such a move. (As The Daily Show’s brilliant Jessica Williams said to one such ‘fetal attorney’: “You have a crazy-ass job, sir.”)

Doe now says she no longer wants an abortion – under circumstances her original lawyers called “highly suspicious” – but the disturbing precedent that Alabama has set through this petition remains. How much longer will we put up with this obsessive encroachment onto women’s bodies and rights? How much more insanity will it take? A lawyer for every fetus? We’re already fighting against constitutional “personhood” status for zygotes and attempts to defund a woman’s health organization thanks to the 3% it spends performing abortions, so perhaps the anti-choice movement has reached peak wacky.

Baffling legal maneuvering aside, what’s worst in cases like this one in Alabama – where the state focuses its misogynist ire on the most marginalized women – is that they’re commonplace. Women in prison, women who use drugs, women of color and low-income women have long been targets for anti-choice legislators, not just because they have less support to fight back, but because the people attacking them believe that no one will care. It’s nastiness of the worst sort.

Abortion is legal. And while I’d like to say that no amount of strange, overreaching and insulting litigation or legislation will change that, it has, and it still could. And if it does, we know who will be penalized most.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/31/the-latest-anti-abortion-move-alabama-custody-fetus


Fucking hell.
July 30, 2015

Planned Parenthood president: These extremist videos are nothing short of an attack on women

Planned Parenthood president: These extremist videos are nothing short of an attack on women


Planned Parenthood is at the leading edge of providing the highest quality reproductive health care — including providing every new form of FDA-approved contraception and using technology to reach patients in underserved areas. That commitment has led to important health advances and helped produce the lowest rate of teen pregnancy in nearly 40 years.

Despite that success, some members of Congress last week made clear their ultimate goal to eliminate access to safe and legal abortion — by targeting Planned Parenthood. In effect, they are trying to cut patients off from programs that reduce unintended pregnancies and save lives. It’s important to understand what exactly would be “defunded” by these politicians.

The federal funding Planned Parenthood health centers receive goes toward preventive medicine — breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, well-woman exams — that millions of low- and middle-income women across the country rely on. Those are the services that would be lost. Some politicians claim that ending support to Planned Parenthood is related to abortion services, knowing full well that because of the Hyde amendment there has been no federal funding of abortion services except for very narrow exceptions for nearly four decades — and that low-income women have been prevented full access to abortion as a result.

Attacking this funding is attacking women who need preventive health care, including women who need cancer screenings and contraception. Congress should not allow politics to get in the way of lifesaving care.

The women who come to Planned Parenthood don’t do so to make a political statement; they come to get high-quality, affordable and compassionate care. When a patient comes to us, we don’t ask her if she’s a Democrat or a Republican because health-care provision should never be political.

A fringe group in Congress tried to defund Planned Parenthood in 2011 and failed. It won’t work this time either.

The American people know that we provide essential health services to millions. They know that because it’s likely that at one point in their lives they’ve gone to Planned Parenthood, or a friend or partner has.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/planned-parenthood-president-these-extremist-videos-are-nothing-short-of-an-attack-on-women/2015/07/29/76146334-3611-11e5-9739-170df8af8eb9_story.html
July 25, 2015

Men Kill Women in the U.S. So Often that It’s Usually Not Even Newsworthy

Men Kill Women in the U.S. So Often that It’s Usually Not Even Newsworthy

When news emerged that a middle-aged white man in Lafayette, Louisiana opened fire at a showing of the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, I immediately had this sinking feeling that the movie choice wasn't a coincidence—that this was, like the Elliot Rodger and George Sodini killings, an act of rage at women. While Trainwreck is a fluffy rom-com, it's also a popular topic of chatter in the feminist-sphere, and therefore likely to be noticed by the seething misogynists who monitor the online activities of feminists with unsettling obsessiveness.

That fear is now moving from the uneasy-feeling column to the likely-possibility column, with Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reporting that alleged shooter John Russell Houser was a rabid right-winger—he even went to one of those unranked conservative Christian law schools—who had particularly strong anger towards women for their growing independence and rights. Former talk show host Calvin Floyd had Houser on as a frequent guest, knowing that his off-the-wall opinions would generate audience interest: "The best I can recall, Rusty had an issue with feminine rights," Floyd said. "He was opposed to women having a say in anything." Houser also had a history of domestic violence.

It would be nice, as Jessica Winter argued in Slate after the Charleston shooting, if this country could have a grown-up conversation about gun control in the wake of crimes like this. Instead, we're just going to hear a bunch of ridiculous rhetoric about how more guns will fix this problem, as if Lafayette isn't one of those parts of the country where every and their poodle is packing heat. But since that's not happening, maybe we can talk about the continuing role that misogyny plays in the relentless drumbeat of gun violence in this country.

As my colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley noted today at Slatest, there were 14 other gun-based murder-suicides in the past week in this country, resulting in the loss of 36 lives. If you look down the list of the killings, an unmistakeable pattern pops out: "shot and killed his 37-year-old wife... shot and killed his ex-wife... shot and killed his 62-year-old wife... shot and killed his 23-year-old girlfriend..." and so on. Most of these killings involve men killing women that they were in a relationship with, had lost a relationship with, or likely wanted a relationship with, but were rejected. This last week also featured a bizarre story of a woman who not only survived being kidnapped and raped by a man but also saw her boyfriend and a random other man killed in the rapist-murderer's rampage.

Hearing that some man's entitled attitude towards women led him to kill is so common that it hardly counts as newsworthy. We don't know exactly why yet Houser shot up a theater that was showing a movie written by an unapologetic feminist, but this moment should still be a wake-up call about the problem of misogynist violence in our culture. If we're not going to talk about gun control, then let's talk about how to get fewer men to see guns as the solution to their inchoate rage at women.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/07/24/lafayette_shooter_john_russell_houser_history_of_domestic_violence_and_hatred.html
July 24, 2015

Accused Batterers Get Free Attorneys. Domestic Violence Victims Don’t. That Needs to Change.

Accused Batterers Get Free Attorneys. Domestic Violence Victims Don’t. That Needs to Change.

When domestic violence cases make their way through the legal system, accused batterers have the right to a free court-appointed attorney in criminal cases. But a domestic violence survivor isn’t assured access to reduced-cost legal services. It’s a problematic imbalance, and correcting it could likely reduce the rate of domestic violence.

Giving accused batterers free legal representation it is hardly controversial—our justice system prioritizes a fair defense for the accused. But what if we took the additional step of subsidizing legal services for domestic violence survivors?

For survivors, having an attorney can increase the likelihood of obtaining a civil restraining order from 32 percent to 86 percent. Restraining orders, in turn, can reduce the occurrence of violence and help survivors feel safer and more empowered in their relationships and lives. Attorneys can also assist with other legal issues, such as child custody, divorce, housing, and government benefits, which may be holding survivors back from leaving abusive relationships.

However, domestic violence survivors are frequently not in a position to hire their own attorneys. Victims in low-income households experience five times the rate of domestic abuse of victims in higher-income households. Studies show that low-income individuals are often unable to obtain the legal services they need or desire, with only half of those seeking legal aid being able to be served and more than 70 percent of the legal issues faced by low-income individuals not finding their way to the justice system. An abusive partner may also control the finances in a relationship, which could make it more difficult for a survivor to collect the funds needed to hire a lawyer.

So what would a solution look like? Dozens of legal aid groups around the country already focus on helping survivors, often with amazing results. If their work was scaled up, with states or municipalities offering free or reduced-cost legal assistance for those reporting abuse, evidence suggests that domestic violence rates would fall, along with the share of costs borne by the municipalities. New York City alone spends more than $44 million per year responding to reports of domestic violence, and arresting, prosecuting, and supervising batterers. Costs for health care and homeless services would also likely fall—studies indicate that half of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence, and nearly 38 percent of all victims of domestic violence become homeless at some point in their lives. Given the probable cost savings, funding for civil legal assistance would likely pay for itself in many communities.

Our society foots the bill when someone accused of a heinous crime can’t afford a lawyer, because we don’t want anyone to be failed by the justice system. But many victims of abuse lack the resources to access the justice system in the first place. Civil legal assistance could put them on equal footing with their abusers, saving both costs and lives in the process.

Read more: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2015/07/23/free_legal_representation_for_domestic_violence_victims_level_ground_for.html
July 20, 2015

Bobby Jindal: An abortion “patient” is the “unborn baby,” not the woman having the abortion

Bobby Jindal: An abortion “patient” is the “unborn baby,” not the woman having the abortion


“They try to defend themselves by saying this is health care and patient-centered,” Jindal said. “Abortions are not health care, and this is not about the patient. The patient in this case is that unborn baby.



I say, OH FUCK NO!
July 18, 2015

15 Of The Emmys' 18 Leading Actress Nominees Are Over 40. This Is Huge.

15 Of The Emmys' 18 Leading Actress Nominees Are Over 40. This Is Huge.

This year's Emmy nominations included surprises, wearyingly predictable nods, and a few glaring snubs, but one of the most striking things about the nominations had to do with age. Of the 18 leading actress nominees across comedy, drama, and mini-series, 15 of them are over the age of 40.
It would be nice if this wasn't notable, but it is. And it's awesome.

In the category for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Amy Schumer, at 34, is the youngest actress nominated. The other nominees include Amy Poehler, Edie Falco and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The oldest is Lily Tomlin, who earned a nod for her funny, honest and nuanced performance in the Netflix series "Grace and Frankie." Tomlin is 75. A woman her age has never been nominated in this category. Prior to her, the oldest nominee was Betty White at 69 for "Golden Girls" in 1991. (Cicely Tyson, at 92, is the oldest nominee this year for her guest starring role on "How to Get Away With Murder.&quot

The age diversity among this year's female nominees is even more significant when you count the supporting actress categories, which include women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, from 28-year-old Emilia Clarke from "Game of Thrones," to 63-year old Christine Baranski from "The Good Wife." A vast majority of these actresses, even if they aren't over 40, are in their 30s. All of the actresses are playing characters who are age-appropriate.

This is, in a word, huge.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/emmy-nomination-age-diversity_55a812f7e4b0c5f0322ccabd?utm_content=bufferb611e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
July 18, 2015

Why a congressman would say, ‘This interview didn’t happen’

Why a congressman would say, ‘This interview didn’t happen’


In theory, that should effectively end the controversy, such as it was, and since my wife works for Planned Parenthood – her work is completely unrelated to fetal tissue and she played no role in this report – I was prepared to look past it altogether. But a Roll Call article yesterday pushed the story in an unexpected direction: some congressional Republicans have known about the video for weeks.

Rep. Tim Murphy, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee looking into the video, said at a Wednesday news conference he’d seen the clip weeks before.

Asked afterward why he and others waited until this week to take action, Murphy struggled for an answer before abruptly ending the interview with CQ Roll Call, saying he should not be quoted and remarking, “This interview didn’t happen.”

Well, actually, it did happen, and members of Congress can’t talk to reporters, then retroactively pretend they didn’t.

In this case, Roll Call asked why the story, if it’s as scandalous as Republicans are now claiming, didn’t break immediately. If GOP lawmakers consider the revelations an outrage, why did some members say nothing for nearly a month?

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), before pretending the interview “didn’t happen,” said, “Um, I don’t know why. All I know is I saw it and he said he was going to post it eventually, so that’s all I know.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), one of Congress’ most strident opponents of reproductive rights, also said he first saw the video about a month ago, but also said nothing. “The hope was to have as much information as possible so that the authorities could be notified effectively before the media,” Franks argued yesterday.

It’s a curious argument. Republicans have spent the week characterizing this as a potentially criminal scandal, but when some far-right lawmakers saw the video weeks ago, they didn’t feel the need to do much of anything – they didn’t run to the GOP leadership to demand action; they didn’t call allies in conservative media; they didn’t hold a press conference to express outrage. If they genuinely saw the video as proof of illegal Planned Parenthood activities, notifying the “authorities” could have happened immediately.

But it didn’t. So what is this really all about? Consider this Politico report published overnight:

Republicans on Capitol Hill are betting the secretly filmed Planned Parenthood video — depicting an executive allegedly discussing the sale of fetal organs from terminated pregnancies — will give them cover to more aggressively push abortion issues without the political ramifications that have haunted the party in the past. […]


Ah, there it is. Republicans don’t have proof of Planned Parenthood wrongdoing, but rather, have a desire to claim a “scalp.” When the GOP went after women’s healthcare in 2012, it backfired on the party, so Republicans hope a misleading video will offer new opportunities to try the same move again.

That’s the point of the GOP calls for investigations, hearings, and probes. That’s why Republicans are trying to use this story to raise money and advance their personal ambitions.

Those who were inclined to take the story seriously should probably adjust their perspective accordingly.

Postscript: The video released by the Center for Medical Progress doesn’t show Planned Parenthood doing anything illegal, but whether the video itself was recorded illegally is a separate matter.

Read more: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-congressman-would-say-interview-didnt-happen
July 16, 2015

Ronda Rousey Slams Floyd Mayweather in ESPY Award Speech

Ronda Rousey Slams Floyd Mayweather in ESPY Award Speech

UFC Champion Ronda Rousey had some choice words for Floyd Mayweather when she beat him for a fighting award.

When Rousey won Best Fighter at Wednesday night’s ESPY awards, she said, “I wonder how Floyd [Mayweather] feels being beat by a woman for once,” ESPN reports. Mayweather, the pound-for-pound boxing champion, has has been arrested multiple times on domestic violence charges.

Rousey also bragged, “I’d like to see you pretend to not know who I am now,” after Mayweather claimed in a 2014 interview that he had no idea who she was.

Rousey also beat out Serena Williams for the Best Female Athlete ESPY later in the evening.
July 15, 2015

Federal appeals court rules against nuns in contraception coverage case

Federal appeals court rules against nuns in contraception coverage case

A federal appeals court in Denver on Tuesday ruled that an order of Roman Catholic nuns must comply with President Barack Obama's healthcare law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers contraception.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order of nuns who operate nursing homes, saying their obligations under the law did not substantially burden their religious freedom.

The nuns had sued the Obama administration arguing that a compromise in the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, still made them complicit in authorizing birth control for their employees even if they did not have to pay for it.

The federal healthcare law requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women including access to contraception and sterilization.

Religious groups opposed to abortion and sometimes contraception can opt-out of paying for the services, which then forces insurers or a third party to pick up the tab.

The nuns argued that signing paperwork authorizing the third party to cover contraception was a violation of their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The appeals panel disagreed, saying the compromise made handing off coverage “as easy as obtaining a parade permit."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/15/us-usa-colorado-contraception-idUSKCN0PP0FZ20150715?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews
July 10, 2015

House Dems threaten to oppose medical cures bill over abortion rider

House Dems threaten to oppose medical cures bill over abortion rider

Several House Democrats are threatening to oppose a bipartisan medical cures bill over concerns that Republicans are using it to further restrict abortion funding.

Both Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) vowed to oppose the bill on Friday if it includes the abortion rider. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) also threatened to oppose the bill.

“Why in the world would you put in an abortion rider on a thing for medical research?” Slaughter asked during floor debate. Her office did not return requests for comment about whether she would oppose the bill in full.

At least five other Democrats are also planning to oppose the bill, a spokesman for Speier's office said Thursday afternoon, adding, "I think there’s some momentum."
The bill, called the 21st Century Cures Act, has 230 co-sponsors, including a majority of House Democrats. The 350-page bill is designed to speed up the development of new drugs and treatments, with help from an $8.75 billion funding boost to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
But concerns are now surfacing over abortion-related provisions in the bill. The Democrats claimed the language had been secretly added to the bill, reminiscent of the Senate GOP’s inclusion of abortion-related language to a human trafficking bill earlier this year.

“I cannot stand by while these provisions are slipped into an otherwise excellent bill through underhanded maneuvers that run contrary to our democratic process,” Speier said, claiming the language was added “in the dead of night.”

During the Senate battle over abortion this spring, Democratic concerns derailed the bill’s passage for weeks.

“When similar provisions were slipping into a human trafficking bill, we said no. Why aren’t we saying no today?” Speier asked in a fiery speech from the floor.

"The majority is yet again using this bill as a vehicle for anti-choice Hyde Amendment," DeLauro said, urging a "no" vote on the bill.

The legislation, co-authored by Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), cleared the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a 51-0 vote. It also unanimously passed the House Rules Committee on Wednesday with no mention of abortion language during the hours-long hearing.

The new language would extend the Hyde amendment, which blocks public funds being used for abortions — a restriction that Democrats argue is already in place under federal budget rules.

It was added to the bill when leadership added "the annual riders from the Labor-HHS bill" after the legislation advanced out of committee, said DeGette, the bill's Democratic co-author.

"I think its unnecessary and I think it distracts our attention," DeGette said about the abortion language. She then urged all members to vote yes for the overall bill.

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) said while she supports the overall bill, she is “disappointed” that the abortion language was added. She said she plans to support an amendment offered by her Democratic colleagues to remove that language.

The bill's top Democratic supporters said they still believed they would have broad support from their party in Friday's vote.

“There are always going to be some people that are against, but I think it’ll be very few,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said, adding that the party “is going to work hard to get rid of the riders.”

Read more:http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/247416-several-dems-threaten-to-oppose-medical-cures-bill-over-abortion-language


I hate it when they do that shit.

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