Meet Toby Harmon, a onetime drug dealer who found Jesus in jail, and his wife and three homeschooled kids who regularly join him outside Oklahoma abortion clinics in protest. Harmon is the co-founder of Abolish Human Abortion, a new, uncompromising anti-abortion group that is growing in presence around the country.
Harmon and his associates call themselves “abolitionists,” with all slavery comparisons explicitly intended. They protest outside churches - yes, churches - accusing them of not doing enough to end abortion, and talk scornfully of “pro-lifers” who make peace with rape exceptions to abortion bans. AHA activists wear t-shirts emblazoned with “End Child Sacrifice” and proudly display photos of bloodied, fully developed fetuses. Last month, they started showing up outside of high schools for what they call “Project Frontlines.” That’s where msnbc.com recently joined them - and then came home with the Harmons.
For the mainstream movement to ban abortion, graphic photos and aggressive language have generally gone out of style. The winning slogans, the ones Republican politicians prefer, are warmer, fuzzier: Thumbsucking ultrasound photos, or “women’s health” used as a pretext to shut down safe abortion clinics, including three in Texas in recent weeks alone. The losing slogans involve Akin-like “legitimate rape” and comparing Planned Parenthood to the Klan.
17-year-old Dylan Schumaker caught national attention when he cried in the courtroom while being tried for murder after he shook his girlfriend’s baby to death after the child wouldn’t stop crying. But was his crying genuine? The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
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For over a year, I had no problem getting my birth control pills covered. I went off of birth control to have a child—a beautiful baby girl. After she was born, I went back on the pill because my husband and I weren’t yet ready for another child.
You can imagine my surprise when my pharmacy told me out of the blue one day that my insurance company had denied coverage for my monthly prescription. Assuming it was just some sort of administrative error, I called my insurer. But there was no mistake—my employer had demanded that the insurance company refuse to cover birth control for employees unless they had a “prior authorization” from their OB-GYN. My doctor agreed to write a letter explaining that I needed birth control for contraceptive purposes. But according to the insurance company, family planning isn’t “medically necessary,” and the insurance company denied coverage again. I had to go back to my OB-GYN and ask her to tell the insurance company the second reason why I need birth control pills: to regulate my periods. My doctor did, and the authorization was ultimately accepted.
After the insurance company first denied me birth control, but before I learned that it was my employer who’d demanded they change their policies, I made an appointment with the university’s human resources director. I assumed it was a problem with the insurance company, and thought our HR director would want to know. Boy, was I wrong. The HR director told me that birth control is something the university should never be expected to cover, and that I should be more responsible for my reproduction and “proud” of my child. Using birth control is the responsible decision for me and my family, and I was outraged that he would suggest that my family planning decisions somehow called into question my love for my daughter.
Mock shared her truth with her family when she was 13, but her struggles with gender identity began way before then. In her book she describes what it was like growing up in California with her father, who constantly policed her gender, and later back in Hawaii, where she was born, with her mother, who was never able to live up to the image Mock “had projected onto her, the image of the perfect mother,” as she often put the men in her life before Mock and her other children. Mock’s relationship with her younger brother, Chad, also was strained at times when they both were figuring out their respective identities. Mock admits in the book to worrying Chad would be disappointed she was not “being a better big brother” while they were growing up and she was “learning the world, unsure, unstable, wobbly, living somewhere between confusion, discovery, and conviction.” She also had a difficult relationship with many of her schoolmates and educators who failed to “grasp the varied identities, needs, and determinations of trans people” and therefore made her formative years miserable. All of these relationships were managed by Mock under dire circumstances; Mock’s family, both in California and Hawaii, was no stranger to poverty and addiction.
Without support and guidance from her personal network and other trans girls and trans women, without a memoir like Redefining Realness to guide her, she became isolated and an “easier target” for a sexual abuser.
Fire up the press releases. Grab the bullhorns. Get ready for the demonstrations.
The Heartbeat Bill is back in both branches of the legislature Ohio.
State Sen. Kris Jordan, R-Ostrander, has reintroduced the controversial measure that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Advocates of the measure have been protesting for the past week over what they view as the short shfit given them by state lawmakers. A Heartbeat Bill has been pending in the House for months.
Janet Porter, head of Faith2Action, called conservative House Speaker William G. Batchelder “anti-life” in a call to action last week after the GOP caucus declined to endorse some “pro-life” lawmakers. “We must scream from the rooftops about this injustice and weigh in to help our guys!”
Disgruntled Android users may advance claims that Google collected and distributed their personal data, a federal judge ruled.
Consolidated last year in San Francisco, the class action claims that Google “gained and allowed third parties to have unauthorized access to, and engaged in unauthorized use of” mobile devices that used the Android operating system.
Applications such as Foursquare, Groupon, Advanced Task Killer, Angry Birds and Pandora allegedly “collected personal data from their Android mobile phones and shared this data with” Google.
Users say they were “unaware of and did not knowingly consent to collection of the data,” which included “class members’ home and workplace locations and current whereabouts; several universally unique device identifiers assigned to plaintiffs’ Android mobile phones; other device-specific data that was useful to Google and third parties for purposes of ‘device-fingerprinting’ (i.e., the creation of a back-up unique identifier to engage in tracking of a particular device); along with personal information about plaintiffs such as their gender and age, what functions plaintiffs performed on apps, search terms entered, and selections of movies, songs, or restaurants.”
More: Courthouse News Service
Angry comments have erupted on the Veronica Mars Kickstarter site from donors upset that they are unable to download the movie via the service provided: Flixster/Ultraviolet. The film, which was funded on Kickstarter, promised that donors who pledged $35 or higher would “receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut, plus the T-shirt, plus the pdf of the shooting script.” After Warner Bros declined to finance the idea based on its 2004-07 TV series, Veronica Mar’s creator/exec producer Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell went to the crowdfunding site with an intention of raising $2M to bring the popular TV series to the big screen, but it quickly ended up raising a whopping $5.7M.
Authorities in Kyiv have accused Moscow of provoking a deadly gunfight between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian activists in the eastern city of Kharkiv
At least two men were killed and five others wounded in the overnight clashes.
Rival groups both blamed each other for the violence, with Ukrainian authorities saying they feared Russia might use the trouble as a pretext to invade.
Accusing pro-Russian provocateurs, Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov urged people via social media not to fight back.
Anti-hunger organizations are lobbying states to allocate the extra money to preserve benefits as state officials agree to boost home-heating subsidies.
“By taking advantage of ‘heat and eat,’ Rhode Island is ensuring that our state’s most vulnerable residents such as the elderly and disabled citizens continue to benefit from the SNAP program,” Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat who formerly served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican, said in a statement earlier this week.
“The advantage of this provision is clear,” said Chafee, who said continuing such programs would preserve $69 million in federal money for his state, aiding about 69,000 households.
Malaysia turned the search for Flight 370 into a criminal investigation on Saturday, after the prime minister declared in a news conference that the plane had been deliberately diverted from its planned route a week ago from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and then flown as much as seven hours to an unknown destination.
The prime minister, Najib Razak, said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon that Malaysia would seek the help of other governments across a large region of Asia in trying to find the plane.
Malaysian authorities later released a map showing that the last satellite signal received from the plane had been sent from a point somewhere along on one of two arcs spanning large distances across Asia.