Nashville’s district attorney recently banned his staff from using invasive surgery as a bargaining chip, after it became apparent that local attorneys had been using sterilization as part of plea bargains.
In the most recent case, a woman with a long history of mental illness was charged with neglect after her young baby died. Jasmine Randers, 26, suffers from paranoia and had fled from a Minnesota treatment facility where she was under state commitment. The district attorney refused to go forward with a plea unless she agreed to be sterilized.
It’s unconstitutional for faith-based organizations (FBOs) to proselytize using public funds, but some FBOs manage to circumvent these rulings by conducting their evangelistic charity projects overseas. In a recent article for Firstpost, an Indian website, Rupa Subramanya argues that this may begin to strain foreign relations, just as it strains the boundaries of constitutional law.
“Despite uncertainty about whether it is even constitutional, given the U.S. First Amendment’s ‘establishment clause’ separating church and state, FBOs have played an important role, starting during the administration of President Bill Clinton, carrying through that of George W. Bush in a significant way and continuing into that of Barack Obama,” Subramanya writes, referring to what is now the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
On Monday, Google started to take down ads from crisis pregnancy centers that engage in overt deception of women seeking out abortion information online. Crisis pregnancy centers are anti-abortion centers that often masquerade as women’s health clinics; they exist to disseminate anti-choice propaganda to dissuade women from abortion and contraception. According to the Washington Post, Google’s decision was made after NARAL Pro-Choice America created a report for Google that showed that a full 79 percent of the paid ads for crisis pregnancy centers that pop up on Google deceitfully “indicated that they provided medical services such as abortions” when they simply did not.
Crisis pregnancy centers know that women who want abortions are likely to go to Google first to figure out next steps, and the hope is that these ads will trick women into thinking that they can get abortions at the advertised locations. Google’s ad policy states that, “All advertising claims must be factually supportable,” so this little bit of subterfuge is simply not allowed. Obviously, any glance at the claims made in sidebar advertising for beauty products or health supplements shows that a lot of companies slip through with deceptive claims, but considering the seriousness of this issue, insisting on truth in advertising seems extra important.
The Hyde Amendment is back.
From holding up Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as Attorney General and a bill to help victims of sex trafficking to threatening to blow up a carefully calibrated bipartisan agreement on a number of important health policy fixes, it seems there’s no end to the trouble caused by this amendment from hell.
It’s no secret that the Hyde Amendment — to ban federal funding of abortions for low-income women in the Medicaid program — was introduced by pro-life Catholic Congressman Henry Hyde in the mid-1970s and has plagued appropriations bills ever since. But what’s not as well known is the backstage role that the Catholic Church played in its creation.
In fact, without the church, there might not be a Hyde Amendment.
Henry Hyde was a first-term congressman from Illinois when he introduced the amendment in June of 1976. The fledgling anti-abortion movement had been trying desperately since Roe v. Wade three years earlier to get Congress to pass a “Human Life Amendment” to ban abortion, but wasn’t getting anywhere.
Tidal features two subscription tiers. There’s no free tier, as Spotify has, but Tidal does offer a free two-week trial. In the premium Tidal tier, users pay the same as they would for Spotify premium ($9.99 per month) and receive all of the same benefits: unlimited streaming of whatever song you want, with no ads. Tidal also has a luxury tier called “Hifi” that gives users high-definition audio for $20 per month.
But if Tidal really wanted to make the most money possible for its artists, it would charge somewhere around $6.
According to the 2013-4 Planned Parenthood Report, the organization conducted 704,079 HIV Tests on both Men and Women for the period the report covers. (Page 18).
Scott County, Indiana, the center of an exploding HIV outbreak, has been without an HIV testing center since early 2013, when the sole provider — a Planned Parenthood clinic — was forced to close its doors. The clinic did not offer abortion services.
The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state’s public health infrastructure. Those cuts came amid a national and local political campaign to demonize the health care provider. Now, the state is scrambling to erect pop-up clinics to combat an unprecedented HIV epidemic caused by intravenous drug use.
The fact that Scott County was “without a testing facility until a few weeks ago is a glaring example of the kind of public health crisis that results when prevention and testing are left unfunded,” said Patti Stauffer, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky’s vice president for public policy.
For more information on STD tests available at Planned Parenthood and how to find a location near you, click here.
“The first transfer of power to the opposition through an election,” is how former American ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell described it in a phone call on Tuesday. For Nigeria, a country with a history of election-related violence and military coups, Jonathan’s phone call to Buhari conceding defeat was a positive sign for the prospects of a peaceful transition. “I think the fact that President Jonathan made a concessionary phone call to Buhari sets the right tone,” said Campbell.
Following an administration-wide commitment to reform sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders, President Obama on Tuesday commuted prison time for 22 people convicted of federal drug crimes, many of whom faced decades to life behind bars.
The nearly two dozen offenders had been found guilty on a range of drug charges including intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and possession of methamphetamine. All but one will be freed from prison on July 28th.
“It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances,” President Obama wrote in a letter to Terry Barnes, one of the inmates whose 20-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base was shortened. Barnes has already served 10 years in federal prison and will be released this summer.
On the heels of Indiana’s controversial religious freedom law, Arkansas lawmakers on Tuesday gave final approval to a similar measure — and the governor says he’ll sign it.
The Arkansas House voted 67-21 to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which follows the state senate’s approval of the bill Friday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office did not immediately respond to the bill’s passing, but has previously said he would sign it into law when it reaches his desk.
Protesters gathered outside the governor’s mansion in Little Rock on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the House vote.
The Indiana law, enacted last week, and the proposed Arkansas law were presented as ways to keep government from infringing on religion. But opponents say they could be used as cover for discrimination, allowing businesses to refuse to serve gay and lesbian customers.
Tim Cook, the openly gay CEO of Apple, led widespread corporate opposition to the law in Indiana, and the NCAA, which is staging the Final Four in Indianapolis this week, hinted that it would think twice about bringing future events there.
“A strange virus is going around…” Fear the Walking Dead premieres Summer 2015. Only on AMC.