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by Amanda Marcotte
The always-excellent Sarah Posner responded to this past weekend’s anti-contraception rallies (disguised as “religious freedom” rallies, but timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing contraception) by writing articles profiling (http://www.salon.com/2012/06/03/birth_controls_worst_enemy/singleton/) some of the anti-choice activists who have really been gaining in prominence because of their unadorned hatred of birth control. The unmistakable conclusion to which all of this points is that the anti-choice movement is feeling way more comfortable by the hour admitting what they’ve previously tried to keep from being understood by people outside of their movement, which is that they oppose contraception just as they do abortion. Which, of course, makes it clear that their concern isn’t “life,” but that “life” is just a code word for making sure that the amount of sex that occurs in this country is minimal both in frequency and pleasure, and geared strictly towards procreation.
America is almost unique in the civilised world for forcing pregnant prisoners to undergo childbirth cuffed and shackled
by Sadhbh Walshe
In 2007, a 17-year-old girl called Cora Fletcher was charged with retail theft. Over a year later, after she missed a court date, she was sent to the Cook County jail, in Illinois. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
During a pre-natal check-up at the facility, her baby appeared to have no heartbeat, so she was sent to the county hospital. As the medical team tried to induce her, Fletcher claims that both her hands and both her feet were shackled to either side of the bed. Only when she finally went into labor, three days later, was one hand and one foot released. It's hard to imagine a more crucifying way to force a woman to try to give birth.
Sadly for Fletcher, there was no payoff for the trauma and humiliation she was forced to endure, as her baby was born dead.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2012
Gay and Lesbian Couples Seek Freedom to Marry in Illinois
CHICAGO - May 30 - Seeking recognition for their shared love and commitment and protection for their families and loved ones, nine couples filed a lawsuit today to challenge the constitutionality of an Illinois law that denies gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry.
Illinois' current law excludes these couples from the recognition and protections that come with the universally recognized relationship status of marriage, and limits them instead to civil union status. Six states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex couples to marry.
by Jordan Flaherty
Women With a Vision (WWAV), a New Orleans advocacy and service organization that provides health care and other support for poor women of color, was the victim of a break-in and arson late Thursday night. A small organization that has won a national reputation for their work, WWAV was founded in 1991 by a collective of Black women as a response to a lack of HIV prevention resources for those women who were the most at risk: poor women, sex workers, women with substance abuse issues, and transgender women.
The white working class is said to 'vote against its own interests'. This only exposes the patronising assumptions of their accusers
by Gary Younge
So white people who are struggling financially are going to vote Republican. And not by a narrow margin. Asked in a recent Washington Post poll which candidate would do more to advance their families' economic interests, middle-class white voters who said they were struggling to maintain their financial positions chose Mitt Romney. And not by a small margin. In this category he beats Barack Obama by 58% to 32%.
A global movement wants a better world. Such a world is possible, and here's how …
by Global Spring Movement
We are living in a world controlled by forces incapable of giving freedom and dignity to the world's population. A world where we are told "there is no alternative" to the loss of rights gained through the long, hard struggles of our ancestors, and where success is defined in opposition to the most fundamental values of humanity, such as solidarity and mutual support. Moreover, anything that does not promote competitiveness, selfishness and greed is seen as dysfunctional.
But we have not remained silent! From Tunisia to Tahrir Square, Madrid to Reykjavik, New York to Brussels, people are rising up to denounce the status quo. Our effort states "enough!", and has begun to push changes forward, worldwide.
This is why we are uniting once again to make our voices heard all over the world this 12 May.
by David Dayen
Yesterday North Carolina passed Amendment One, a constitutional amendment initiative that not only puts the existing ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution, but will also ban civil unions and domestic partnerships and could actually make things difficult for heterosexual couples that co-habitate. Despite – or perhaps because of – confusion about the consequences of the measure, 61% of voters supported the amendment yesterday.
The immediate reaction from the activist community in North Carolina was that they would “look at all legal options and political options” to overturn the amendment. That would include repeal bills in the legislature and perhaps actions on specific activities potentially covered by the amendment in the courts.
But there’s another wrinkle with this outcome. The 2012 DNC convention will take place in Charlotte, with President Obama set to accept the nomination at Bank of America Stadium, where the NFL’s Panthers play. And some activists are unhappy about the fact that Democrats will celebrate in Charlotte four months after the state took rights away from LGBT families.
by Richard M. Ryan and William S. Ryan
Why are political and religious figures who campaign against gay rights so often implicated in sexual encounters with same-sex partners?
In recent years, Ted Haggard, an evangelical leader who preached that homosexuality was a sin, resigned after a scandal involving a former male prostitute; Larry Craig, a United States senator who opposed including sexual orientation in hate-crime legislation, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom; and Glenn Murphy Jr., a leader of the Young Republican National Convention and an opponent of same-sex marriage, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually assaulting another man.
One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”
by Mark Weisbrot
The Republicans’ gamble that they could ride a backlash against the Obama administration’s efforts to increase the availability of contraception has gone terribly bad. It turns out that most Americans, especially women, agree that insurance companies should have to cover contraception – for example, birth control pills – in their health insurance plans.
One result of this battle has been a record gender gap in the presidential race, with President Obama leading likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a huge margin of 57-38 percent among women registered voters. A recent Gallup poll of swing states has Obama leading by a 2-1 margin among women under 50.
Romney will try to narrow this gap in the general election, but it may not be so easy. He is on the record saying that he would like to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, as well as eliminate federal funding under the Title X program. This is a federal program that provides grants that pay for reproductive health services, including birth control and cancer screening (but not abortion), for millions of Americans, mostly women.
Is Obama Kowtowing to the Right? Or Is He One of Them?
by Ted Rall
The President's progressive critics blame him for continuing and expanding upon his Republican predecessor's policies. His supporters point to the obstructionist, Republican-controlled Congress. What can Obama do? He's being stymied at every turn.
The first problem with the it's-the-GOP's-fault defense is that it asks voters to suffer short-term memory loss. In 2009, you probably recall, Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. By a sizeable majority. They even had a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate. His approval ratings were through the roof; even many Republicans who had voted against him took a liking to him. The media, in his pocket, wondered aloud whether the Republican Party could ever recover. "Rarely, if ever, has a President entered office with so much political wind at his back," Tim Carney wrote for the Evans-Novak Political Report shortly after the inauguration.