Friday ReadsPosted: April 13, 2012
More news in the “imaginary” War on Women. As usual, many Republican Fembots are sadly selling out our interests. Wacko Tea Party Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs another bill designed to remove the constitutional right to access to abortion. The state is banning abortions from 18 weeks forward. This directly conflicts with Roe v. Wade and medical science. Welcome to the beginning of the world of The Handmaiden’s Tale. Jan Brewer is no Fay Dunaway either.
Despite its name, critics derided the Women’s Health and Safety Act that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law today as cruel, dangerous, and hostile to women—likely to deter many Arizona women from seeking an abortion, and to distress those who nonetheless go through with one.
Life starts earliest in Arizona, which now defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman’s last period, rather than at fertilization. In practice, that means the state has banned abortions after about 18 weeks (20 weeks from the last menstruation) except in the case of medical emergencies. While that provision has been much discussed, abortions after that point account for only about 1 percent of the procedures currently performed.
The stipulation likely to be most widely felt is what experts are calling an effective shutdown of medication abortions. These nonsurgical abortions are usually performed within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, and account for between 17 and 20 percent of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-rights advocacy group. While women often take the pills at clinics and in their homes, the bill now mandates that a medical provider must have hospital privileges within 30 miles of where the procedure takes place. Many times clinics or homes are not within 30 miles of hospitals, and the distance prevents providers from other cities or even states from caring for women, says Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute. Another factor that could contribute to what Nash called a “shutdown” of medication abortions is that the law requires abortion pills to be administered using outdated protocols, confusing providers and obscuring proper use of the drugs.
While it becomes the seventh state to pass such legislation in the past two years, many Arizonans believe theirs is the most restrictive and sinister because of the degree to which it will legislate health care, thwart evidence-based medicine, and shame women. One in three women will have an abortion before age 45 according to Guttmacher, and more than half of those women already have a child.
The Virginia Speaker of the House who also is an ex-ALEC Chair was heard telling a woman ‘I’m Not Speaking In Little Enough Words For You To Understand’.
ProgressVA recently released a report on the legislative influence of the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — which began hemorrhaging donors in the wake of a campaign raising awareness of its efforts to disenfranchise voters and enact Florida-style “stand your ground” laws. The group noted that the Commonwealth of Virginia has spent $232,000 of taxpayer’s dollars over the past decade to send legislators to ALEC conferences and meetings.
Virginia House Speaker William Howell (R), himself a national board member of ALEC and its 2009 national chairman, took issue with the report and called it “inaccurate.”
In an exchange caught on camera, Howell berates the group’s executive director Anna Scholl, mocking the group’s website and her. Howell criticizes the Washington Post’s article about the group’s as “full of half-truths or un-truths.”
In a failed attempt to back up his accusation, Howell notes that while the Commonwealth paid about $230,000 on ALEC-related expenses, it spent even more on travel for the same and other legislators to attend conferences by the bipartisan National Conference of State Legislators.
When by Scholl pressed as to how omission of that irrelevant detail constituted an inaccuracy, Howell berated her:
I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.
When Scholl responded to the slight, telling him “I’m a smart girl, actually I went to the University of Virginia,” more than capable of understanding polysyllabic words. Howell curtly replied, “We’ll good for you.”
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state of Texas over the state’s exclusion of the nonprofit group’s clinics from a state women’s health program primarily funded by federal dollars.
PPFA told Austin American Statesman reporter Chuck Lindell that they’ve already closed 12 clinics across Texas since last year, after Texas Republicans slashed family planning funds by $74 million. Exclusion from Medicaid funding will see another $10-$13 million pulled from the group, which would trigger the closure of even more clinics serving lower-income communities.
Texas Republicans say they are within their lawful authority to deny funding to the nonprofit group because abortion providers are not considered to be qualified organizations. To those ends, the legislature last year passed a new rule that bans abortion providers from receiving taxpayer money.
PPFA, however, insists that only 3 percent of services performed across the whole country in 2010 had to do with abortion: the vast majority of their work, they claim, relates to breast and cervical cancer screenings, reproductive health, education and contraceptive support.
The Obama Administration said last month that Texas’s move was illegal, and began to cut off federal funds for the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program because of the state’s decision to exclude PPFA.
A study conducted by U.S. government scientists are linking the rise in earthquakes in the U.S. to fracking.
A spate of earthquakes across the middle of the U.S. is “almost certainly” man-made, and may be caused by wastewater from oil or gas drilling injected into the ground, U.S. government scientists said in a study.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said that for the three decades until 2000, seismic events in the nation’s midsection averaged 21 a year. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011.
Those statistics, included in the abstract of a research paper to be discussed at the Seismological Society of America conference next week in San Diego, will add pressure on an energy industry already confronting more regulation of the process of hydraulic fracturing.
“Our scientists cite a series of examples for which an uptick in seismic activity is observed in areas where the disposal of wastewater through deep-well injection increased significantly,” David Hayes, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, said in a blog post yesterday, describing research by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey.
N.C. Gov. Bev Perdue is arguing that those pushing a highly restrictive marriage amendment could wind up invalidating the states’s domestic violence laws.
North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue warned on Thursday that Amendment One, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, could remove protections against domestic violence for unmarried women.
“It would ban the state from recognizing civil unions, strip away domestic partner benefits and it actually could eliminate legal protections for all unmarried couples in the state,” she said in a video on YouTube. “This will harm the stability and security of North Carolina families like never before.”
“The amendment I believe is dangerous for women,” Perdue continued. “There is a real risk that some laws we have on the books now to protect the victims of domestic violence may no longer apply to many women in the state.”
Because the proposed amendment states that marriage between a man and women is the “only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized,” opponents have said that it could render domestic violence laws invalid for unmarried couples.
After Ohio passed a similar marriage amendment, some judges dropped domestic violence charges in cases involving unmarried couples.
Yeah, right, no war on women here.
Seymour Hersh has evidence that the Bush administration trained Iranian terrorists in Nevada. Amy Goodman interviews Hersh on the subject.
AMY GOODMAN: In what appears to be a first for U.S. foreign policy, new revelations have emerged that the Bush administration secretly trained an Iranian opposition group despite its inclusion on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorists. Writing for The New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports U.S. Joint Special Operations Command trained operatives from Mujahideen-e-Khalq, or MEK, at a secret site in Nevada beginning in 2005. According to Hersh, MEK members were trained in intercepting communications, cryptography, weaponry and small unit tactics at the Nevada site up until President Obama took office. The MEK has been included on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups since 1997. It’s been linked to a number of attacks, spanning from the murders of six U.S. citizens in the ’70s to the recent wave of assassinations targeting Iranian nuclear scientists.
Although the revelation that the U.S. government directly trained the MEK comes as a surprise, it’s no secret the group has prominent backers across the political spectrum. Despite it’s designation as a “terrorist” organization by the State Department for 15 years, a number of prominent former U.S. officials have been paid to speak in support of the MEK. The bipartisan list includes two former CIA directors, James Woolsey and Porter Goss; former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; former Vermont Governor Howard Dean; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former FBI Director Louis Freeh; former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton; and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?