Meet The Alabama Doctor Who Could Face 99 Years In Prison For Providing Abortions Under New Law

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban into law on Wednesday, effectively banning the procedure except in cases where a pregnant person’s life is at serious risk. The law does not make exceptions in cases of rape or incest and doctors could face 99 years in prison for performing abortions. We speak with Dr. Yashica Robinson, the medical director of the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives, one of only three clinics left in the state that offer patients abortion services. She is one of only two abortion providers living and working in Alabama. Under the new Alabama law, she could spend the rest of her life in prison for doing her job.

As Comcast Lobbyist Hosts Biden’s First Fundraiser, Campaign Boasts of Support from “Top 1%”

APR 26, 2019

H3 biden fundraiser comcast lobbyist philadelphia david cohen

In other campaign news, Biden marked his first day on the campaign trail by attending a $2,800-per-person fundraiser in Philadelphia at the home of Comcast’s top lobbyist, David Cohen. Attendees included Daniel Hilferty, chief executive of Independence Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in the Philadelphia area. Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Biden for holding a fundraiser in the home of a corporate lobbyist. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who co-hosted the Biden fundraiser, appeared on CNN this morning, and said the fundraiser attracted the top 1%.

Ed Rendell: “For 90% of the people who attended last night’s fundraiser, they’re contributing against their own financial interest. They will do better with a Republican president, because they’re in the top 1%. So they’ll do better with a Republican president. It will probably cost them money if Joe Biden wins, because I think he’ll bring some sense to the tax cut and he’ll probably raise rates on the top 1%. So, all these people gave money even though it was against their own financial interest.”

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton accused of sexually assaulting reporter

NBA coach Luke Walton

Luke Walton is accused of sexual assault during his time as assistant coach at the Golden State Warriors

A National Basketball Association (NBA) coach is being sued for the alleged sexual assault of a sports reporter, US media report.

In the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ and ESPN, Kelli Tennant alleges Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton forced himself on her in a California hotel room.

At the time he was assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, another California NBA team, says the lawsuit.

In a statement, Mr Walton’s lawyer called the accusations “baseless”.

According to legal documents obtained by US media, Ms Tennant met Mr Walton in his suite at the Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica to give him a copy of her 2014 book.

Sports reporter Kelli Tennant
Kelli Tennant worked as a broadcaster on Spectrum SportsNet at the time of the alleged incident

Mr Walton had written the foreword to the publication, The Transition: Every Athlete’s Guide to Life After Sports.

No specific date for the alleged incident was stated in the lawsuit, according to US media.

The two had reportedly had a working relationship, stemming from Mr Walton’s time as a guest on Spectrum SportsNet, a US regional cable sports channel where Ms Tennant used to work.

She also knew Mr Walton’s wife, according to US media.

The legal action says Ms Tennant had viewed Mr Walton as a “trusted mentor and colleague”, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kelli Tennant's Instagram page
A photo from Ms Tennant’s Instagram page, which has been flooded with comments following the suit

Upon Ms Tennant’s arrival at the hotel, the lawsuit reportedly says, Mr Walton invited her to his room, ostensibly so they would not be seen by any Golden State Warriors players.

Once inside the suite, the legal action says that Mr Walton “pinned Ms Tennant on the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body”, before groping her chest and groin, according to US media who have reviewed the court documents.

“She was afraid she was about to be raped,” the legal action reportedly says.

According to US media, Mr Walton’s lawyer released a statement categorically denying the allegations.

“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible,” said Mark Baute.

Mr Walton was hired this month by the Sacramento Kings, after leaving the Los Angeles Lakers, where he had been head coach since 2016.

Mr Walton had previously played 10 seasons for the Lakers, before beginning his NBA coaching career with the Golden State Warriors in 2014.

All three teams responded to the allegations.

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors said they were aware of the report and had no further comment.

The Los Angeles Lakers statement said the alleged incident took place before he became their head coach.

“At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers,” it said.

“If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA.”

Since news of the lawsuit broke, Ms Tennant, a former volleyball player for the University of Southern California, had her Instagram page flooded with comments, many of them abusive.

ESPN reports the NBA has launched an investigation of its own into the alleged event.

Susan Rice says she won’t challenge GOP Sen. Collins in 2020

Rice told former Obama administration official Alyssa Mastromonaco at the 10th annual Women in the World Summit on Thursday in New York that she loves Maine and that her family has deep roots in the state. But she said she decided with her family “that the timing really isn’t right for us.”

NEW YORK — Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser under President Barack Obama, won’t be challenging Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in 2020.

Rice told former Obama administration official Alyssa Mastromonaco at the 10th annual Women in the World Summit on Thursday in New York that she loves Maine and that her family has deep roots in the state. But she said she decided with her family “that the timing really isn’t right for us.”

Rice tantalized Democrats in October when she expressed interest in Collins’ seat during the contentious confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She said at the time that Collins “betrayed women across this country” by supporting Kavanaugh.

Rice said during the event on Thursday that her daughter is going into her junior year of high school and that her family has already sacrificed for her.

“I’ve given this a lot of thought, and in the course of weighing it all, I’ve decided with my family that the timing really isn’t right for us,” she said.

Her announcement could free other Democrats to enter the race.

So far, no high-profile Democrat has announced a challenge to Collins next year. But the race is still early, and Collins herself hasn’t formally announced she’ll seek re-election.

Collins’ office had no immediate comment Thursday.

Collins is a self-described centrist in an era of increasingly polarized politics. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she’s now the last Republican member of Congress from New England.

Rice’s maternal grandparents emigrated from Jamaica to Maine in the 1910s. Her grandfather, David Augustus Dickson, worked as a shipper, porter and janitor. Rice’s grandmother, Mary Dickson, a maid and seamstress, was named Maine State Mother of the Year in 1950.

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Commodifying women’s rights: How corporations make money out of ‘feel-good’ feminism.

'Feminist' t-shirts are put on sale during the Women's March in New York City on January 20, 2018 [File: Epics/Getty Images]
‘Feminist’ t-shirts are put on sale during the Women’s March in New York City on January 20, 2018 [File: Epics/Getty Images]

A few days ago, I received a message from my son’s secondary school announcing that it is celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on Friday. The message read: “The school is selling Feminist jumpers to mark the event. Jumpers are on sale for 10 pounds ($13) – please ask your daughter or son to bring 10 pounds cash to the English office if she/he would like to wear one.”

A few hours later a friend called to tell me, tongue-in-cheek, that International Women’s Day t-shirts are passe and that sex toys are the new t-shirts, sending me a link to “IWD sex toys” currently on sale.

The irony is that International Women’s Day began as an initiative of the Socialist Party of America to honour the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, which, at the time, was the biggest industrial action ever taken by women workers in the United States. Hence, the dedication of a day to women began as a struggle against capitalist economic exploitation, where women demanded better working conditions and higher wages.

It is true that, over the course of the 20th century, International Women’s Day has undergone many transformations. In certain countries and contexts, it has served as a day simply to celebrate women and their accomplishments. It has also been a catalyst to mobilise women around the world to rally for a variety political causes: from working women’s rights through the right to vote and participate in politics to anti-war protestsand, more recently, gender equality.

There is, of course, always a certain problematic tokenism when setting aside one day during the year in which we either celebrate women and/or protest gender inequality.

But in the past few years, and particularly with the rise of Trumpism and the far-rightacross Europe, South America, India and many other places, International Women’s Day has taken on increased potency and significance.

Indeed, the demonstrations organised on March 8 across the globe have become more militant and intersectional since 2016. One has only to think of Spain, where last yearmillions walked out to protest against gender inequality and sexual discrimination, or the US, where the Feminism for the 99% movement called for a women’s strike.

OPINION

Palestine, the Women’s March, and imperial feminism

Azeezah Kanji
by Azeezah Kanji

The agendas of many of these protests go well beyond “equality”: They are demanding gender, racial, economic, and climate justice, understanding that these issues are inextricably linked.

And yet, as the message from my son’s school and the IWD sex toys reveal, alongside the more militant direction of International Women’s Day, there has also been another parallel development, namely, the increasing commodification of March 8 and its branding by corporations.

Scholars call this brand activism, where corporations attempt to improve their reputation by using some popular and often progressive cause in their PR and advertising campaigns. The businesses and corporations thus give in order to get.

An example of this is the fashion e-tailer Net-a-Porter who has launched an exclusive limited-edition collection of IWD T-shirts in collaboration with six women designers. It is true that all of the profits go to a charity supporting women survivors of war, but activism and empowerment here is equated with buying an expensive t-shirt with words like “You Go Girl”. Women, in other words, are encouraged to express their solidarity not through struggle or protest, but by shopping.

This corporate appropriation is clearly part of a wider cultural phenomenon – the rise of neoliberal feminism.

This kind of feminism encourages women to invest in themselves and their own aspirations, inciting them to build confidence and “lean in”. And while such feminism acknowledges the gendered wage gap and sexual harassment as signs of continued inequality, the solutions they posit, such as encouraging individual women to take responsibility for their own well-being, do not challenge the structural and economic undergirding of these phenomena.

Neoliberal feminism is palatable and marketable precisely because it is a non-threatening feminism. It doesn’t address the devastation wrought by neoliberal capitalism, neo-imperialism or systemic misogyny and sexism, so it is easy to embrace and it sells well on the marketplace. Its message is the exact opposite of the one advanced by the women’s strikes at the beginning of the 20th century.

Moreover, given the rise of this feel-good feminism, it is not hard to understand why suddenly everyone is eager to claim the “feminist” label: from movie stars like Emma Watson to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Nor is it difficult to understand why this feminism makes good business today.

The popularity of feminism and its widespread embrace is not a bad thing per se. But it is crucial to understand what kind of feminism has become popular and why. A watered down and defanged feminist message is neither going to uproot patriarchy, nor is it going to help us resolve the existential threats to life on earth.

We thus have two competing forces at work at the moment. On the one hand, we have a popular, commodity-driven feminism that serves as a handmaiden to neoliberalism. On the other hand, we have a growing movement of mass feminist mobilisation that is demanding transformative social justice.

In the US, such mass mobilisation has been spearheaded by activists like Alicia Garza, who is one of the cofounders of Black Lives Matter and Linda Sarsour, who was cochair of the 2017 Women’s March, the 2017 Day Without a Woman, as well as the 2019 Women’s March. Their feminism is a threatening one because it challenges the intersecting systems of oppression: from white supremacy through Islamophobia to misogyny and neoliberal capitalism. These women carry on the revolutionary spirit that sparked the first IWD over a century ago.

Which feminism “wins” in many ways depends on us. I, for one, have made my choice. Today, I will join the Global Women’s Strike and will bring my two sons along.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


Trump to bar abortion referrals by family planning clinics

Reproductive rights groups decry Trump’s latest announcement, saying it further restricts women’s rights.

Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]
Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]

The Trump administration says it will prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, a move likely to be challenged in court by abortion rights supporters.

The administration’s plan would also prohibit family planning clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

The policy released Friday by the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) pleased religious conservatives, a key building block of President Donald Trump‘s political base.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has said the administration appears to be targeting them, and called the policy a “gag rule”.

“The implications of the Trump-Pence administration’s attack on Title X with a gag rule are staggering,” tweeted Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood’s president.

“It compromises the oath I took to serve my patiens and help them make the best decisions about their health,” she added, using #NoGagRule.

The final regulation was published Friday on an HHS website but would not be official until it appears in the Federal Register.

The department said there could be “minor editorial changes” to the regulations while a department official confirmed to the Associated Press it was the final version.

Known as Title X, the family-planning programme serves about four million women annually through independent clinics, many operated by Planned Parenthood affiliates.

The grant programme costs taxpayers about $260m a year.

One year under Trump: ‘An assault on women’s health’

Abortion is a legal medical procedure in the US, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of a woman.

Restricting women

Friday’s announcement was the latest move by President Donald Trump to restrict women’s reproductive rights.

Reproductive rights groups say Trump has waged a war against them, employing policies that have harmed women’s right to choose.

Since taking office, Trump has reinstated and expanded the Global Gag Rule, which bans international organisations that receive US funding from providing abortion services or offering information about the procedure.

Trump has also appointed well-known anti-abortion rights activists to key posts within federal departments dealing with women’s health.

Last month, a US judge in California blocked a Trump administration birth control coverage rules, which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost birth control, from taking effect in 13 states and Washington, DC.

“It’s 2019, yet the Trump Administration is still trying to roll back women’s rights,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said following the ruling. “Our coalition will continue to fight to ensure women have access to the reproductive healthcare they are guaranteed under the law,” he added.

READ MORE

Judge blocks Trump birth control coverage rules in 13 states, DC

But Friday’s announcement was praised by abortion opponents.

“We are celebrating the newly finalized Title X rules that will redirect some taxpayer resources away from abortion vendors,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement.

Although federal family planning funds by law cannot be used to pay for abortions, religious conservatives have long argued that the programme indirectly subsidises Planned Parenthood.

A group representing family planning clinics decried the administration’s decision.

“This rule intentionally strikes at the heart of the patient-provider relationship, inserting political ideology into a family planning visit, which will frustrate and ultimately discourage patients from seeking the healthcare they need,” Clare Coleman, head of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, said in a statement.

‘The Maine electorate has had it with her’: Constituents turn on Susan Collins

Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester in September 2018.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine spoke to news media at Saint Anselm College in Manchester in September 2018.

Senator Susan Collins’s reputation for bipartisanship has brought her respect across the aisle over 22 years in Washington, D.C. But these days, the famously temperate 66-year-old senior stateswoman from Maine is inspiring the kind of liberal animus more typically directed at people named Trump.

“Betrayed” is a word that comes up.

“I used to think that she was kind of a voice of reason. I thought she could maybe go across the aisle and get some things done,” said Pam Cunningham, a Boothbay Democrat who voted for Collins last time around.

Collins’s vote for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has galvanized left-leaning activists like Cunningham, who are actively trying to unseat her in 2020 — and though they don’t yet have a candidate, they have raised nearly $3.8 million.

Early in the Donald Trump era, Collins was eyed optimistically by Democrats as someone who might save their day. But the Supreme Court vote was the latest in a string of positions Collins has taken where, after lengthy, attention-getting deliberations, she sided with the GOP. For some voters, hope in Collins has curdled into vengeance.

“The Maine electorate has had it with her not voting with the majority of her constituents,” said Amy Halsted, co-director of the Maine People’s Alliance, a statewide community organizing group that has about 32,000 members. “They no longer believe her claims to be a moderate.”

At the same time, the political mood in Maine has been volatile. The state supported Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, and after two terms of the combative conservative Governor Paul LePage, flipped the state government blue in November, handing Democrats the governor’s office, Senate, and House.

Given that backdrop, Democratic organizations were already viewing Collins as vulnerable. Now, they are trying to attach to her blame not only for her own votes, but for those of Kavanaugh.

When he, for instance, dissented on an abortion rights case this month, left-wing political organizations pounced on Collins. Demand Justice, a judicial advocacy group, launched a digital ad targeting Collins and warning, “We Won’t Forget.” The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee panned Kavanaugh’s ruling, calling him “Senator Collins’s Supreme Court Judge.”

Of course, Collins was alternately cheered by the right, which rewarded her mightily for her pivotal support for Kavanaugh. In the three months following the vote, Collins set a career high for quarterly fund-raising, drawing in nearly $1.8 million. The previous quarter, she had raised only $140,000.

“People generally like Susan Collins in Maine. I would never underestimate her,” said Brian Duff, a political scientist and associate professor at University of New England in Maine. “But I do think she’s uniquely vulnerable this go-round.”

Activists have been birddogging Collins since the opening days of the Trump administration, protesting Cabinet appointees and staging sit-ins in her office, said Marie Follayttar, a sculptor who founded Mainers for Accountable Leadership. The Maine People’s Alliance intends to knock on doors to reach hundreds of thousands of voters this year, highlighting Collins’s record and arguing that she is not representing Maine voters’ interests.

In a statement, Collins suggested she is still calling them like she sees them and pointed to a number of votes she has taken against her party — opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the nominations of Cabinet appointees Scott Pruitt and Betsy DeVos, for instance.

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“Often these outside groups, on both sides, want 100% fidelity to 100% of their views 100% of the time,” Collins said in a statement. “But I’ve always believed that neither side has a monopoly on good ideas and that in order to craft the best policy, you need to bring both sides to the table to find common ground.”

Collins also said she is accustomed to being in the public eye, “as a centrist who is willing to work across the aisle and who must often cast the deciding vote.”

But she said she is concerned “by the appalling hyperpartisanship that has repeatedly prevented us from getting things done on behalf of the American people.’’

Early on, when Collins bucked the Republican Party and voted to preserve the Affordable Care Act, Mainers gave her a hero’s welcome, literally cheering her return to the Bangor airport. But later she voted for a tax bill that would undo a key part of the health law, the individual mandate.

Then, the signs greeting her at the airport simply said, “Shame.’’

“Collins had given so many Mainers hope that she would protect our health care with her votes against the repeal of the ACA,” said Follayttar.

While Collins had long carefully honed her reputation as a moderate, Duff pointed to recent votes he views as “obviously problematic,” including her support for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and her vote for a tax cut package that will increase the deficit.

“She has very little chance of explaining that vote in a way that makes sense to Maine voters,” Duff said.

Conversely, he thought she was consistent in her vote for Kavanaugh, which she painstakingly explained it in a 45-minute floor speech in October. “It was articulate, thoughtful, consistent with the way she has spoken and voted through her career,” he said.

That wasn’t the way that Collins’s critics heard her speech, however.

“I have never been so disappointed in anybody in my life,” said Laurie Fear, an addictions counselor and activist who lives in Portland.

That was also an ugly and trying period for Collins, who faced protesters at home and at her offices, whose aides fielded rape and death threats. Her house was visited by a haz-mat team after she received an envelope purporting to contain ricin. Activists sent to her 3,000 coat hangers, symbolizing the tools of back-alley abortions that activists say women would resort to if Kavanaugh helped roll back abortion rights.

Anti-Kavanaugh activists also raised money and pledged to donate it to Collins’s next opponent if she voted to confirm the nomination. She called that tantamount to bribery.

“Anyone who thought I would auction off my vote to the highest bidder obviously doesn’t know me. I made my decision based on the merits of the nomination,” she said. “This effort played no role in my decision-making whatsoever.”

That is heartbreaking to such people as Cunningham — who joined other Maine women to meet Collins in Washington in hopes of persuading her to vote against Kavanaugh.

She opened up to Collins about her own attempted rape, which she had seldom spoken of, in the hopes of explaining why a woman would not immediately report a sexual assault, as was the case with the women who accused Kavanaugh.

“We all thought maybe our stories would get through to her on a personal level, a woman-to-woman kind of thing,” said Cunningham.

Later, Collins sent her a form letter that mentioned that very meeting with survivors of sexual assault as evidence of the thorough deliberations she undertook in making the decision. “She was using my story to try to portray herself in a favorable light,” Cunningham said. “I really don’t think she did take our opinions into consideration.”

Ariel Linet, a disability attorney and Portland constituent who called and visited Collins’s offices trying to urge her to vote against Kavanaugh, said she no longer views Collins as a moderate.

“I don’t think that she’s taken any brave stances against her party,” she said. “I think she’s hemmed and hawed a lot and ultimately always toed the party line.”

https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/387413/fund-susan-collins-future-opponent