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.
Dear MoveOn member,
I’m Helmi Henkin, an organizer with the Yellowhammer Fund in Alabama, which helps people access safe abortions. I started a petition after our state passed an abortion ban which gives the government control over pregnant people’s bodies—even in cases of rape or incest.
As similar extreme bills continue making their way through state legislatures, it’s vital that we send a clear message to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the other members of the Supreme Court of the United States that we will not tolerate these attacks on our protected human rights.
Alabama’s extreme bill gives the state control over pregnant people’s bodies and increases the already tremendous barriers that people seeking abortion care in Alabama face in accessing their procedures. Access was already a problem in Alabama, which is why the Yellowhammer Fund exists.
The government’s control and politicization of our bodies is unacceptable. Families in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and communities across the nation are under attack as part of a publicly stated, coordinated effort to have the Supreme Court overturn its own legal precedent set by Roe v. Wade.1
This is truly concerning, because some members of the Supreme Court are already signaling a willingness to overturn legal precedent on other cases.2
Sign the petition telling Chief Justice John G. Roberts and the Supreme Court justices to end these extreme policies which deny families the right to determine whether, when, and how to create a family.
People espousing “pro-life” politics frequently talk about how much they love pregnant people and babies. However, their political agenda does not extend to ensuring that pregnancy and birth are safe for pregnant people or that parents, children, and families can access the health care they need to live healthy lives. In Alabama, for example, this means that a large number of pregnant people are going without the prenatal, birth, and postnatal care needed to ensure healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes. Maternal and infant mortality rates are high.3
We will work with trusted partner organizations such as MoveOn to ensure the support of this petition is used to further pressure key decision-makers, keep the story in the media, and give everyone opportunities to stay engaged! MoveOn members have already raised more than $30,000 for our work in Alabama, and we’re seeing generosity across the country—but we also need to make sure the Supreme Court respects the fundamental right to access an abortion, so we need to act now.
Thank you for your support during such an important moment for this movement.
–Helmi Henkin, The Yellowhammer Fund
1. “Alabama Governor Signs Abortion Ban Into Law,” NPR, May 14, 2019
2. “Supreme Court’s Breyer, mentioning abortion case, warns about overturning precedent,” NBC News, May 13, 2019
3. “States with the worst anti-abortion laws also have the worst infant mortality rates,” Los Angeles Times, May 15, 2019
Dozens of US students are on the fourth day of a “sit-in” protest at a college fraternity after the leak of meeting minutes which referred to buying date rape drugs and a “rape attic”.
Protesters are calling for the two fraternities at Swarthmore College, in Pennsylvania, to be banned from campus.
Several students have also accused fraternity members of sexual assault.
In response, Swarthmore has suspended the activities of both organisations for the rest of the semester.
It is carrying out further investigations into Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon, following the leak of documents detailing racist, misogynistic and homophobic language used at a Phi Psi meeting.
Fraternities are exclusive, mostly all-male student organisations. Some are based on areas of study, professions, academic credentials, or on specific religious or ethnical backgrounds. Others serve more of a social purpose.
Earlier this month, two student publications – The Phoenix and Voices – published what are alleged to be internal documents from the Phi Psi fraternity.
The redacted, 117-page documents include “meeting minutes” and details of pledging rituals from 2012-16. They feature offensive language and accounts of physical and sexual assaults, and bravado about buying “date rape” drugs.
Allegations of sexual assault, violence and harassment have also been shared by students on an anonymous Tumblr page named “Why Swarthmore’s Fraternities Must Go.”
In response, student protesters on Saturday began occupying Phi Psi’s on-campus fraternity house and camping outside.
Organizing for Survivors (O4S) and the Swarthmore Coalition Against Fraternity Violence, which arranged the protest, are calling on Swarthmore to terminate the leases of both fraternities and ban them from campus. Instead, they want the properties to be designated for “marginalised” students groups like women and ethnic minorities.
Fraternities are the only student groups able to lease property on campus. Many members also play in college sports teams, and alumni are often important donors for fundraising campaigns. Organiser Morgin Goldberg, 22, told the BBC that this had given fraternities “undue social power that they not only hold, but abuse”.
Ms Goldberg says she has witnessed harassment, racism and homophobia by members.
“If any other student group had this way of conduct, they would be off campus in 10 seconds,” she added.
Phi Psi, which is not affiliated with the national umbrella group for fraternities, was suspended from Swarthmore in 2016 for violating its alcohol and drugs policy. It reopened for parties a year ago.
“All our current brothers were in high school and middle school at the time of these unofficial minutes, and none of us would have joined the organization had this been the standard when we arrived.”
Delta Upsilon fraternity told Philadelphia Magazine that it read the documents “with total revulsion” and said they “do not reflect the values” of the group.
In an email statement, a Swarthmore spokesperson said the college was “committed to fully investigating” any allegations, but conceded that “it is very difficult to investigate anonymous [ones].”
A task force was set up last year “to critically examine social life on campus, including [fraternity/sorority] life”. It will deliver its recommendations to college President Valerie Smith on 3 May.
“Isolating a few bad apples will not address the structure,” said Ms Goldberg.
“This is the start of the conversation, not the end of it, about social life at college and which students groups are represented and which are under the bus”.
The law professor says Biden needs to apologise to other women and the public
Top White House candidate Joe Biden has denied treating a woman badly when she accused a Supreme Court nominee of harassment before Congress in 1991.
Anita Hill had testified against Clarence Thomas to a committee chaired by Mr Biden. His handling of her evidence has long been criticised.
Speaking on ABC’s the View on Friday, Mr Biden also said that he was “sorry for the way she got treated”.
Ms Hill on Thursday told the New York Times she would not endorse Mr Biden.
The former US vice-president under Barack Obama tried to tamp down the controversy a day after formally launching his White House bid.
Mr Biden has shot to the tip of a crowded field of 20 contenders who are vying to become the Democratic standard-bearer in next year’s election against Republican President Donald Trump.
What’s the Anita Hill row?
Ms Hill said that Mr Biden had called her before announcing his presidential bid and expressed his “regret for what she endured” during the hearing.
But she said that apology was not enough without “real change”.
“I cannot be satisfied by simply saying, ‘I’m sorry for what happened to you,'” Ms Hill, a law professor, told the newspaper.
She added that she could not support Mr Biden unless he showed “real accountability” for his handling of her testimony before Congress in 1991.
During his Friday appearance on The View, Mr Biden – who raised a whopping $6.3m (£4.8m) on the first day of his campaign – was asked about offering a personal apology to Ms Hill.
“I’m sorry for the way she got treated,” Mr Biden responded.
“If you go back and look at what I said or didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly.”
In 1991, Ms Hill was called to testify at Mr Thomas’ confirmation hearing after an FBI interview with her was leaked to the press.
The hearing was conducted by an all-white, all-male panel, and several women apparently willing to corroborate Ms Hill’s account were not called to testify by Mr Biden.
Both Ms Hill and Justice Thomas are African-American.
Mr Biden voted to send Justice Thomas’ nomination out of the committee to the Senate floor, then voted against him in the full confirmation vote.
Decades on, the event is considered a political embarrassment for Mr Biden, who remains a favourite to secure the Democratic nomination.
- Biden stumbles in age of #MeToo
- Joe Biden launches presidential bid
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Earlier this month, the former vice-president pledged to be “more mindful” about physical contact with women after seven women accused him of unwelcome physical contact.
What about Charlottesville?
Mr Biden has also been reproached by the mother of an anti-racism protester who was killed during a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
Susan Bro told the Daily Beast the presidential hopeful had not notified her that he planned to invoke Heather Heyer’s death during his campaign launch video on Thursday.
“Most people do that sort of thing,” she told the Daily Beast. “They capitalise on whatever situation is handy.
“He didn’t reach out to me, and didn’t mention her by name specifically, and he probably knew we don’t endorse candidates.”
In a later interview with CNN, Ms Bro softened her tone, saying she was not particularly upset because “the issue is about the hate, it’s not about Heather”.
Ms Bro added that she had told Mr Biden his video could have traumatised for some Charlottesville survivors.
|While we remain focused on the growing calls for an impeachment investigation in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, we’re here to remind you about a story that’s lately received far too little attention. A little over six months after squeaking through an overtly partisan confirmation process, Justice Kavanaugh still has a lot to answer for:
The American people deserve answers. Who paid off Kavanaugh’s debt, and why? Did the White House cover up evidence that Kavanuagh sexually assulted Dr. Ford? Did Kavanaugh perjure himself in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee?
The House Judiciary Committee has the power to find out — so we’re pushing them to get to the bottom of these questions and more with an official investigation. Will you add your name to call on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate perjury and other crimes potentially committed by Brett Kavanaugh?
Jessica Meir, a Caribou native who graduated from Caribou High School in 1995, will be launched to the International Space Station in September.
In a release from NASA, Meir is expected to return in spring 2020.
According to NASA, Meir has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University, a master’s degree in space studies from International Space University, and a doctorate in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
This will be Meir’s first spaceflight.
THE FIRST MAINE WOMAN IN SPACE!!!
AUGUSTA, Maine — State legislators in Maine have asked a woman hired to give lobbyists free sexual harassment training not to come back following complaints over her presentation.
Karen Ryla from the Bangor-based Work Performance Solutions was hired to lead the training sessions as part of a new law passed last year.
Senate Majority Leader Nate Libby said lobbyists told him after Thursday’s session the training was not tailored enough to the power dynamics and work relationships in the Statehouse.
Taryn Hallweaver with the Maine People’s Alliance posted on Twitter that fellow lobbyists had to make corrections and counter “over-the-top” examples provided.
Libby says the remaining sessions will be led by the Legislature’s human resources director, Jackie Little.