ISSUE BRIEF: This Month in Economic Justice

Economic Justice

Every Friday, PRA brings you a monthly update on a different social justice issue. This week, we are recapping the last month in Economic Justice.

Wisconsin Judge Rules In Favor of Unions, Holds WERC in Contempt of Court
A Madison judge found the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in contempt of court for enforcing provisions of the collective bargaining restrictions signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in 2011 that had previously been ruled unconstitutional. The Judge also issued an injunction which barred any future attempts to enforce these restrictions on any union in the state. The WERC was in the process of preparing certificate elections for over 400 school district worker unions to take place in November. The commission had claimed the previous ruling had only applied to unions in Madison and Milwaukee, giving them the right to enforce the restrictions across the rest of the state. In his decision on Monday, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled that his previous decision in 2012 had already wiped the provisions from existence. School districts are free to once again negotiate wages, hours, vacation, and workplace conditions. Judge Calos  also scolded the WERC for “conduct [that] was nothing more than an attempt to elude the application of a judgment the commissioners knew full well applied.”

Income Gap Rises to Highest Levels in Over a Century
Over the past few decades, the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans has continuously increased. Now, the gap has reached its highest level in the past 100 years.The L.A Times reported in September that between 1993 and 2012, the real incomes of the wealthiest Americans grew 86.1 percent, while the bottom 99 percent of wage earners only grew 6.6 percent. These statistics come from an examination of IRS data by economists at UC Berkely, the Paris School of Economics, and Oxford University. The study attributes the cause of the increasing income gap not only to technological advancements and outsourcing, but to the reduced power of progressive tax policies, along with “changing social norms regarding pay inequality.”

Coalition of Immokalee Workers Honored for Protecting Rights of Laborers
On October 16th, The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) were honored at the Four Freedoms Awards ceremony, an annual event hosted by the Roosevelt Institute. The award honors individuals and groups that “exemplify Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vision of Democracy outlined in his famous January 14th, 1941 address”, remembered as the “Four Freedoms Speech”. The group joins past recipients such as Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Elie Wiesel, the Dalai Lama,  and Bill and Hillary Clinton. The CIW is a worker-based human rights organization which began in 1993. They are a non-hierarchical organization which uses grassroots organizing to advocate for economic justice and labor reforms. They are most known for their Campaign for Fair Food program, which sets to “educates consumers on the issue of farm labor exploitation and forges alliances between farm workers and consumers in an effort to enlist the market power of major corporate buyers to help end that exploitation”. Through the campaign, they have successfully negotiated fair food agreements with food retailers such as McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Sodexo, and Subway to establish more humane labor standards for farm workers.

Young Children of Color in the U.S Face “Crisis Levels of Poverty”
The most recent Census Bureau data shows 42 percent of African-American children and 37 percent of Latino children under the age of 5 live under the poverty line. Growing up in poverty adds extensive physical and mental stress on young children during their most cognitive years, and affects future educational and health outcomes. These numbers are further troubling, as conservatives in Congress just finished reducing federal spending on children, with  $4.2 billion in sequester cuts to children services in 2013. Adding more salt to the wound, the bipartisan organization Family First is reporting that “Congress is considering a budget plan that would lock in or deepen these cuts for next year.”

Job Market Slowly Improves
The jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the month of September was released on October 22nd. Originally scheduled for October 4th, the report was delayed by the 16 day shutdown of the federal government. Though the economy added 148,000 jobs and unemployment hit a five-year low, the economy did not progress at a desired rate. The findings suggest that employers may have held back on hiring new workers in lieu of the potential government shutdown. Economists estimate the federal shutdown cut $25 billion from the U.S economy, which helped slow economic growth to about 2 percent for the current quarter.

Long-term Unemployment Reaches Highest Rate in Over 60 Years
Though there has been a steady (if sluggish) improvement in employment , the job reports do not factor in unemployed Americans who have given up searching for a job. The percentage of Americans looking for work remains at a 35-year low, as the recession continues to discourage people to look for jobs. Zach Mcdade and Austin Nicholls of the Urban Institute reported in September that “4.2 million Americans—37 percent of the unemployed—have been jobless for longer than six months, the highest rate by far in the last sixty years.” They note the relationship between long-term unemployment and poverty, where the long-term unemployed are more likely to be poor, and the longer a person is unemployed, the harder it becomes for them to find work.

Annual World Food Day Brings Awareness to Global Hunger
On October 16th, activist groups around the world participated in World Food Day. Held on the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the campaign aims to mobilize advocates to raise awareness, educate, and call for action to end global hunger. The day is observed to “create solidarity among groups working to end hunger and to educate thousands of people, young and old, about the roots of global hunger and the multi-faceted approaches to end it.” Over 450 organizations have taken part in World Food Day, highlighting effective methods of food security and the challenges facing world hunger. One of the central features of World Food Day is their annual teleconference, featuring world leaders and experts in economics, human rights, nutrition, and agriculture.

Study Finds Majority of U.S Fast-Food Workers Require Public Assistance
At the end of August, fast-food workers across the country went on strike, claiming their current median wage of $8.94 dollars per hours was unlivable and simultaneously demanding a wage increase to $15 dollars per hour. An October 15th report by Reuters, using data by the U.S Census Bureau, shows 52 percent of fast-food cooks, cashiers, and other front line staff had relied on at least one form of public assistance from 2007 to 2011. These public assistance programs include Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), and the Earned Income Tax Credit. In a concurrent report using the same data, the National Employment Law Project found  “the 10 largest fast-food companies in the United States cost taxpayers more than $3.8 billion each year in public assistance.” These companies are placing the burden of providing for their employees on the taxpayers, rather than paying them a livable wage for their service.

State Legislators In Ohio Sue to Prevent Medicaid Expansion
This past Monday, the state legislative board of Ohio approved a request by Governor John Kasich to fund the Medicaid Expansion program under the Affordable Care Act. By Tuesday morning, six Republican state legislators had filed a lawsuit to halt the expansion. The lawsuit calls for the state to reject the proposal, and prohibits the state department from receiving funds from the expansion. The expansion provides Medicaid coverage to uninsured residents in the states who choose to participate, whose earnings are at or lower than 138 percent over the federal poverty level. Set to begin in January 2014, the expansion is 100 percent federally funded for the first three years (free to the states), after which federal funding slowly decreases down to 90 percent in 2020. Despite the extremely low costs to states and the opportunity to provide their most vulnerable citizens with health coverage, 22 states have declined to participate in the expansion, leaving 5.2 million Americans without insurance who would have qualified under the expansion.

Bleak Findings on “Poverty Day”
On September 17th, the U.S Census Bureau released their annual data report on poverty, or as thenation.com contributor Greg Kaufmann refers to it, “poverty day”. Kaufmann argues the biggest takeaway is not in the data itself. Rather, the overlying issue surrounding poverty in America is that “we’ve long known what to do to take the next steps in the fight against poverty, and we still know what to do to take the next steps in the fight against poverty. But we’re not doing it.” Previous reports by the Census Bureau have highlighted the potential methods of combating poverty in the United States. But the findings show they have been continuously neglected. The percentage of Americans living in poverty remains at 15 percent (over 45 million Americans living on less than $18,000 for a family of three annually). This includes 22 percent of all children, 27 percent of African-Americans, 25 percent of Latinos, and 28 percent of Americans living with disabilities. The issue goes beyond missed opportunities to create effective policy, as “we now face a Congress poised to make matters worse for those who are faring the worst in our economy.” The Congressional Budget Office estimates the cuts set by the sequester will cost over 900,000 American jobs by the third quarter of 2014. Beginning in November, there will be cuts to food stamp (SNAP) benefits which will effect 22 million children. And then there is the recent House vote to cut an additional $40 billion to nutritional supplement benefits in September.

ISSUE BRIEF: Racial and Immigrant Justice

Racial Justice

Every Friday, PRA brings you a monthly update on a different social justice issue. This week, we are recapping the last month in Race and Immigrant Justice.

California’s New Law Prohibits Deportation for Minor Crimes
Undocumented immigrants in California can breathe easier now that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a group of bills pertaining to immigration rights. The Trust Act, known officially as California Assembly Bill 4, establishes that local law enforcement officers cannot detain undocumented immigrants for deportation if they have committed a minor and nonviolent crime. In addition, the bills also include allowing undocumented peoples to apply for professional licenses, as well as fining employers who threaten their employees with deportation. This comes with the hope of giving approximately 11 million people the opportunity to “come out of the shadows,” so they can “live without fear of deportation.”
http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/10/07/230183623/undocumented-immigrants-in-calif-will-benefit-from-new-laws

1/3 of Asian Americans Face Voting Booth Problems.
Roughly one third of Asian Americans in the United States face issues at polling booths because of their limited knowledge of the English language. As there is no official language in the U.S., these citizens are provided assistance as outlined by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which “requires local jurisdictions to provide language assistance when the language minority population reaches a certain size and its English ability and literacy rate is low.” According to the national affiliation Asian Americans Advancing Justice, however, many districts across the country are not meeting standards. Despite these failures, AAJC has composed a list of the best practices implemented at successful jurisdictions, in hopes of encouraging officials to reexamine Section 203 to ensure that these voters receive the aid guaranteed to them by law.
http://newamericamedia.org/2013/09/asian-american-voter-bloc-grows-but-unique-challenges-persist.php

Black Pennsylvania State College Sues for ‘Illegal Racial System”
While thirteen of fourteen Philadelphia state colleges are sharing a $100 million budget surplus, the fourteenth school, Cheyney University, unlike its predominately White colleagues, is suffering a $14 million deficit. Cheyney, one of the oldest historically Black colleges in the United States, and its students, faculty, and supporters are not accepting this racial injustice. A coalition for Cheney University is currently seeking the revival of a civil rights lawsuit filed in 1980, which stated, according to the plaintiffs then and today, that Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth maintained “an illegal and racial ‘dual system’ of higher education.” Cheyney’s coalition hopes to receive more funding for their school through this lawsuit.
http://www.workers.org/articles/2013/10/04/black-school-revives-civil-rights-lawsuit/

Report Details Top Groups Promoting Islamophobia
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights group, has listed 37 individuals and institutions they found to be “at the center of promoting Islamophobia in America.” This information, offered in their report, titled “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States,” also named organizations battling Islamophobia. CAIR reported that these Islamophobic nonprofit organizations have grossed more than 119 million dollars in order to tarnish the religion of Islam as a whole. With CAIR’s list, more attention can be brought to these anti-Muslim groups so that action can be taken to stop them.
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-19/national/42211614_1_islamophobia-american-muslims-nihad-awad

Native American Veterans File Federal Lawsuit for Better Voting Access
To participate in elections and exercise his constitutional rights, U.S. veteran Mark Wandering Medicine must travel a total of 157 miles. A member of the Northern Cheyenne nation in Montana, Wandering Medicine and his community have struggled to cast votes in the past because of the lengthy journey from their reservation to the nearest county seat. With no public transportation, and due to the economic injustices on American Indian reservations, it’s nearly impossible for some to even reach a voting booth. Rather than allowing this inequity to persist, Wandering Medicine and other veterans are filing a federal lawsuit. Filed on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, and Assiniboine nations, they aim to receive the same treatment White voters have when it comes to voting ease.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/07/montana-north-cheyenne-reservation-voting-rights

Jan Brewer Bans Drivers Licenses for Deferred-Action Recipients in AZ
In mid-September, as a response to President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program—which temporarily suspends the deportation of an undocumented immigrant who meets its criteria, allowing them to work in the U.S.—Governor Jan Brewer pushed to expand Arizona’s ban on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. The new policy now encompasses all deferred-action recipients, not just the DREAMers. Brewer claims, that “only Congress has the authority to grant non-citizens legal presence, which is required under state law to obtain a driver’s license or state ID.” This measure will be especially harmful to recently abused immigrants who are granted deferred action, because they won’t be able to receive a driver’s license to work.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/23/arizona-immigrant-drivers-license-ban/2854965/

Native Americans Hit Hard by Government Shutdown
The Native American community was one of the hardest-hit communities during the government shutdown. Because so many Native American programs depend on federal funds—from nutrition programs to financial assistance for low-income groups—this shutdown has stripped away assistance to over 75,000 people in approximately 276 nations.
http://www.abqjournal.com/274035/news/nm-news/federal-government-shutdown-hits-indian-tribes-hard.html

Judge Dismisses ACLU Lawsuit Against Racist Anti-Abortion Law in AZ
A federal district court in Arizona dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Arizona on behalf of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of Maricopa County and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. The suit was challenging Arizona’s anti-abortion law that the groups alleged relies on harmful racial stereotypes to shame and discriminate against women of color who decide to end their pregnancies.

http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/05/29/aclu-challenges-arizonas-race-and-sex-selection-abortion-ban/
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/10/07/federal-court-dismisses-challenge-to-arizonas-race-and-sex-selection-abortion-ban/

Report Reveals Racial Prejudice in L.A. Canine Police Unit
According to a new report on the Los Angeles Sheriff Department Canine Special Detail, in the first six months of 2013, 100 percent of the LASD dog bite victims were Black or Latino. Urban areas of Los Angeles, where a majority of the residents are people of color, have experienced more dog bites than 21 other areas with higher White populations combined. The LASD has also been singled out by the Department of Justice for their stop and seize tactics, which target mostly Black and Latino people.
http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2013/10/10/2760181/lasd-canine-use-minorities-2013/

Video Reveals Rick Warren and Saddleback Church’s Anti-Asian Skits
White evangelicals at a conference hosted by Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California are under scrutiny after a video of the event was posted publicly, revealing White pastors engaging in a skit rife with racist Asian stereotypes. In a “parody” of the 
Karate Kid, a White pastor “joked” about “making his church-planting apprentice do menial activities, such as getting him coffee, giving him massages and holding his towel.” The pastor and apprentice then engaged in speaking with fake Chinese accents, as stereotypic Asian music played in the background, and performing a karate segment where they bow to one another. This follows Rick Warren himself posting a Facebook photo of the Red Guard during China’s Cultural Revolution with the caption: “The typical attitude of Saddleback Staff as they start work each day.” Warren later offered a weak apology, stating that he apologized if people were offended by his insensitivity. No comments have been made by the Saddleback staff regarding the skit at their conference.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/asian-americans-troubled-by-stereotypes-from-white-evangelicals/2013/10/11/6689c33e-32ab-11e3-ad00-ec4c6b31cbed_story.html

 

ISSUE BRIEF: This Month in LGBTQ Justice

LGBT Flag

Every week, PRA gives you a monthly update on a different social justice issue. This week, we are recapping the last month in LGBTQ Rights.

Providence College Cancels Debate With Prominent LGBTQ Defender
John Corvino, who has made a name for himself debating Maggie Gallagher, was due to give a lecture titled, “The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage” on September 26 at the Catholic-affiliated Providence College. A day before the lecture was scheduled, the provost of Providence College sent a message to the faculty, staff, and students, explaining that he was canceling Corvino’s lecture, citing his concern that “the event had strayed from what had originally been proposed.” The provost went on to say that he did not feel that it was fair to have a theologian staff member debate Corvino, who was to present his argument from a legal-philosophical perspective. Corvino then responded to the cancellation of his lecture, stating his disappointment with the provost.

First Ever Ministerial Meeting on LGBTQ Rights at United Nations, Russia Suspiciously Absent
On September 26, the UN held its first ministerial meeting on LGBTQ rights. According to the official brief, during the meeting the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pallay, highlighted the progress made in securing rights for LGBT people in the past decade, while also citing Eastern Europe and African countries as places where conditions are deteriorating. Free & Equal, an initiative of the United Nations Human Rights Office launched in July as a global public information campaign to promote respect for the human rights of LGBTQ people, released a three-minute highlight video from the meeting.

Pro-LGBTQ Christian Website Launches
On September 4, the NALT Christian Project launched. NALT stands for Not All Like That, and the website is a joint venture of Truth Wins Out and John Shore. The website allows Christians to upload videos in support of LGBTQ rights. Dan Savage, whose It Gets Better Campaign website inspired the format of the NALT website, came out as a supporter for the project. Peter Labarbera and Matt Barber lambasted NALT and Savage on a Liberty Counsel televised program, Faith & Freedom.

NOM Wants To Know Where You Are Going to the Bathroom
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has expanded its scope beyond the marriage debate and is looking into school bathrooms. In a blog post titled “We Can Help Stop the Madness In California”, Brian Brown put NOM’s support behind an effort to repeal a law in California that allows transgender students to use the bathrooms that conform to their gender identity while in school. Brown chastises the state’s residents, stating “We warned Californians during the Proposition 8 campaign that once marriage was redefined, it would open the floodgates to more proposals to use the public schools to push our opponents’ activist agenda.” NOM is currently working with the Privacy for All Students Coalition towards gathering the necessary amount of signatures to get the repeal on the ballot.

Only a Handful of People Attend Voice of the Voiceless (VoV) Dinner
VoV president Christopher Doyle, along with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), finally delivered on his promise for a dinner in honor of the “ex-gay” rights movement. September, Doyle states, is now officially “Ex-Gay Awareness Month.” The reception was a private event, and as indicted by the code of conduct on the invitation, it was also extremely exclusive. The cloak of exclusivity ineffectively disallowed media scrutiny of the event while allowing Doyle to continue to claim he has a sizable number of “ex-gays” rallying around him. According to VoV “former homosexuals are the last invisible minority in American culture”, with Doyle claiming there are tens of thousands of “ex-gays” ready to descend on Washington DC. July’s “ex-gay” pride rally confirmed many people’s suspicions that Doyle may be lying. Attendance of the dinner and reception, held on September 30, was a measly sixty people.

In the Midst of Being Sued for Crimes Against Humanity, Scott Lively Announces Gubernatorial Campaign
Scott Lively, who is currently being sued for Crimes Against Humanity in Uganda by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) over his involvement in the creation of the Anti-Homosexuality “Kill the Gays” legislation in Uganda, announced on September 30, after much speculation, that he plans to run for governor of Massachusetts as an independent. Addressing his chances of winning, Lively states that “it would take a miracle from God for Scott Lively to become Governor of Massachusetts—and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” On September 23, Lively released a statement expressing his disappointment that a federal judge “denied my motion to allow me to appeal his denial of my Motion to Dismiss the outrageous SMUG lawsuit.” Lively claims that he is “just a pawn in this international power play.”

IOC Officially Demurs On Russia’s Anti-“Propaganda” Law
The International Olympic Committee released their official statement on the Games in Sochi after an international outcry over Russia’s anti-gay anti-“propaganda” law. The statement comes out in favor of “human rights”, and goes on to say that “this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the games in Sochi…To that end, the IOC has received assurance from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.” President Putin has already banned protests at the Games in Sochi and has ordered to strictly restrict access to the city during the Games, suggesting that he believes he can assure conflict-free Games by engineering an environment that makes protest impossible. For more information on the anti-propaganda law, Human Rights First has released this report: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/uploads/pdfs/HRF-russias-anti-gay-ban-SG.pdf

Brian Brown Can’t Speak Russian, But His Anti-Gay Rhetoric Transcends Language
According to a new report by RightWingWatch, in June, days after Russia passed its anti-“propaganda” law, NOM president Brian Brown attended a Duma committee on family, women, and children to discuss, among other things, Russia’s plan for adoption by same-sex couples. Promoting the idea that gay marriage and adoption by gay couples are “indivisible” issues, Brown stated, “Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother” (translated from Russian). Five days after Brown’s trip, the Duma passed a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples. Russia is now considering a bill that would deny parents custody of their own biological children if they identify as gay. The law will be under consideration in February, possibly coinciding with the Sochi Olympic Games.

PRA Sponsors Two Screenings of God Loves Uganda
This week PRA sponsored two screenings of Roger Ross Williams’ documentary God Loves Uganda, one in Boston and another in Chicago. In an interview with PRA, Williams explains that he decided to focus on American evangelicalism in Uganda after a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death was introduced in Parliament there in 2009. His research for the movie began with Globalizing the Culture Wars, a report published by PRA. The film includes interviews with Scott Lively, Lou Engle, Martin Ssempa, and young IHOP missionaries in Uganda. If you would like to find a screening or sponsor one in your area, follow this link: http://www.godlovesuganda.com/.

Political Research Associates Launches New Webpage Exposing Link Between American Conservatives and Anti-Gay Sentiment in Africa
The Boston-based national social justice think tank is pushing to further expose the direct links between American conservatives, especially evangelical ministers, and anti-gay sentiment, legislation, and violence across the continent of Africa. The page includes their full investigative reports, videos, supporting articles, and full profiles of the key players on the right. You can see the page here.

ISSUE BRIEF: This Month in Reproductive Health

reproductive health

Every week, PRA brings you a monthly update on a different social justice issue! This week, we’re recapping the last month in Reproductive Health.

ANTI-CHOICE GROUPS:

Koch Brothers Donate $8.2 million to Anti-Choice Groups
The Koch brothers, not particularly well known for their support of social issues, are in the spotlight again. A recent report published by Politco revealed that the “Koch’s secret bank” donated $8.2 million to the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), the legislation and advocacy arm of anti-choice CWA. CWALAC has already lobbied for the bills that effectively banned all abortion 20 weeks after fertilization in Texas, and now with this donation, one can only assume what moves will be made next following the financial boost.
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/09/12/kochs-give-millions-to-anti-choice-efforts-in-the-states/

Conservatives Use Abortions in India to Propose American Anti-Choice Bills
Conservative politicians sink to a new low by exploiting India’s “missing girls” for their own anti-choice propaganda. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (R) and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith (R) have discussed the sex-selection abortions occurring in various states of India where some potential Indian girls are aborted, resulting (in Haryana) a ratio of 832 girls for every 1,000 boys. Instead of discussing the sexist injustices that have caused alarm for human rights advocates, these politicians are co-opting it as a basis to ban all abortions. Human rights advocate, Mallika Dutt, noted that, “Claiming to ‘protect’ women’s rights by denying women rights makes absolutely no sense.”
http://www.salon.com/2013/09/16/congressional_republicans_try_to_exploit_indias_missing_girls_for_anti_choice_propaganda/singleton/

Oklahoma Abortion Case Moves to SCOTUS
Despite multiple court successes by the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice to block a 2011 law that restricted the way doctors could administer abortion-inducing medication, the state of Oklahoma continues to appeal their lawsuits. Two victories issued by the state judge and Oklahoma Supreme Court has not stopped the state from appealing the case of Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court for more clarification on the law. Depending on whether the Supreme Court allows the lower courts’ decision to stand or whether they’ll look into it themselves can determine how significantly reproductive rights will progress.
http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/09/11/2606261/supreme-court-abortion-explainer/

Mississippi Anti-Choice Groups Make Unfounded Complaints About State’s Last Abortion Clinic
Anti-choice groups, including Leaders of Pro-Life Mississippi, Physicians for Life Mississippi, Mississippi Right To Life, and Pro-Life Action Network have filed a complaint with the health department of Mississippi, claiming the Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the only abortion provider left in the state—has been failing to accurately report its data. Despite having no independent evidence to prove the clinic is lying about its statistics, these anti-choice organizations continue to push state health officials into looking at JWHO and its compliance with the law.
http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013308310040

NY Times Publishes Report Validating “Pseudoscience” Anti-Choice Propaganda
The New York Times recently published an article entitled “Complex Science at Issue in Politics of Fetal Pain,” which essentially promoted bad science as good. Writer Pam Belluck offered multiple opinions in the debate over so-called “fetal pain,” but presented them as equally valid. One of these opinions came from a policy director at a national anti-choice group. The notion of “fetal pain” has already been dismissed as pseudoscience by Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but the newspaper still printed this study as an objective look into the subject matter. Rather than discussing scientific evidence, or simply not presenting the story at all, the New York Times legitimized a falsity being pushed by anti-choice propaganda.
http://www.salon.com/2013/09/17/new_york_times_legitimizes_anti_choice_propaganda/

PRO-CHOICE GROUPS:

Men-For-Choice Group Holds Fundraiser in D.C.
NARAL Pro-Choice America held its ever first annual “Men for Choice (And the Women Who Love Them)” fundraising event September 18 in Washington D.C. While reproductive rights are always and foremost an issue related to people who can bear children (in this case generalized as women, but can include trans* men and non-binary people), NARAL decided to rally the people who cannot (in this case, generalized as men), but who support reproductive rights by honoring them at the event. NARAL is calling its function a success, with pro-choice men, including notable figures such as Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s son Nathan Daschle attending in support of a woman’s/person’s right to choose what to do with their bodies.
http://www.blogforchoice.com/archives/2013/09/look-what-happe.html

Pro-Choice Group Rallies Against New Mexico Anti-Choice Bill
Once again, another bill proposal is undergoing the process of hindering a person’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the city council voted to put a bill on their November ballot that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The Albuquerque chapter of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) is fighting back, issuing a call-to-action to intervene on the proposal. With support from members of the community as well as local and national women’s groups, including NOW (National Organization for Women); Respect ABQ Women; NM Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; Young Women United; and Personhood for Women, WORD will be busy working to oppose any ballot measure that would strip away the reproductive rights of the citizens in Albuquerque.
http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/Women-and-allies-pack-the-Albuquerque-City-Council-to-defend-reproductive-rights.html
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/17/us-usa-abortion-newmexico-idUSBRE98G12U20130917

California Passes New Law Expanding Access to Abortion
California is likely to soon put a new law into place promoting reproductive rights and ensuring their proper place in the Golden State. As of this writing, the state is simply awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature to enact the law, which will expand the number of medical professionals who can legally perform abortions. This broader access will allow nurse practitioners and trained physician assistants to perform abortions, giving women the ability to have early abortions and avoiding delayed procedures in the case of locating the nearest doctor possible. In addition, California legislators are working to ensure abortion clinics are not held to the impossible standards which have closed many clinics across the United States.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-27/california-senate-bill-allows-nurses-to-perform-abortions.html

Rutgers Holding 40th-Anniversay-of-Roe Conference
On October 11, the Center for Reproductive Rights will co-sponsor “Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World” at Rutgers School of Law for the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Speakers at the event are expected to not only focus on constitutional rights, but the broader themes of reproductive justice and reproductive oppression. The scheduled topics will range from abortion regulation to justice in child birth, with Byllye Avery, founder of Black Women’s Health, to present the keynote speech.
http://reproductiverights.org/en/feature/beyond-roe-reproductive-justice-in-a-changing-world-rutgers

Women of Color Call for Repeal of the Hyde Amendment
On the 37th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, women of color gathered together to call for legislators to repeal the law banning federal Medicaid coverage for abortions. Jessica González-Rojas of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Eleanor Hinton Hoytt of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, and Miriam Yeung of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum wrote an article for RH Reality Check discussing the struggles women of color have had dealing with the limits on reproductive rights, saying that the Hyde Amendment “violates principles of racial and economic justice.” On its 37th anniversary, these leaders and organizations, along with their supporters, pushed to spread information about this injustice, creating the “All Above All: United to Restore and Sustain Abortion Coverage for Low-Income Women” campaign.
http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/09/30/for-37-years-reproductive-rights-have-been-unaffordable-for-women-of-color/
http://www.thenation.com/blog/176411/spread-word-hyde-amendment-must-be-repealed#

Next Friday: This month in LGBTQ