Oregon governor Kate Brown recently signed a new mandate into law that requires children age two and under to ride in rear-facing car seats. This requirement previously ended when children turned one. Anyone who fails to follow this mandate will be fined up to $250. Oregon is the sixth state to implement rear-facing car seats for children two and under.
In an interview, Dr. Bend Hoffman explained the dangers of young children sitting in forward-facing car seats. “What’s going to happen is they’re going to be thrown forward, the arms and legs are going to go forward, head and neck forward. What’s going to stop the child are the harness straps. All sorts of horrible things can happen from paralysis to death.” Dr. Hoffman is a professor of pediatrics at OHSU’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.
When the car seat is rear-facing during an accident, it absorbs the shock and the child’s spine, head and neck stay aligned.
“We know that kids rear-facing, between the age of one and two, are over five times less likely to be injured in a crash compared to kids facing forward,” said Dr. Hoffman.
Parents like Adrianna Morales are grateful for the change in the car seat laws. “I’m happy, really happy. I think it’s the best choice they made for our little ones, we need to protect them.”
Doernbecher and Legacy Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland provide free car seat installations by appointment.
The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy recently published an article which argues that, under the fourteenth amendment of the US constitution, unborn children are considered persons. In the article, Harvard law student Joshua Craddock challenges both pro-choice philosophy and pro-life interpretation of the Constitution. He sums up both as “constitutionally unsound.”
Craddock looks at the Supreme Court’s pro-choice decisions since the 1973 case Roe v. Wade and their supposed refusal to decide whether or not an unborn child is a human being with human rights. He states that the justices considered other matters to be more important than this decision and thus decided to take no action on the matter. Craddock also examines the idea through the lens of pro-life legal scholars, who either claim that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about abortion at all or that it is important to consider the issue from an “originalist” perspective, which advocates that people should look at what the Constitution meant to those who wrote it and interpret it accordingly.
Craddock then argues that people on both sides of the abortion issue misinterpret the Constitution. He uses the fourteenth amendment to prove that the Constitution’s original meaning includes an unborn child’s right to life. It says that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” He then provides three pieces of historical context to back up his argument: what the word “person” meant at the time, the anti-abortion laws of that period, and what the people who wrote the amendment said about it.
Craddock concludes that states that allow abortion violate the Constitution. An example of this statement is if a state allows abortion but prosecutes murderers of other age demographics, it denies the unborn the equal protection of the laws. “Congress or the courts must intervene,” he writes. “The Fourteenth Amendment was to be a new birth of freedom for all human beings.”
Two Planned Parenthood facilities in Colorado recently announced that they would be closing this summer. The two facilities, one in Longmont and one in Parker, did not perform abortions but referred for them. Whitney Phillips, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman, told local news that they are closing due to the “tough financial landscape” and because of the Affordable Care Act.
“We supported the ACA because we love the idea of more people having health insurance and increasing access to the critical services that they need, but a lot of our patients were self-pay,” she said. “They would come in…and pay out of pocket. Under the ACA, a lot of patients were given the opportunity to be on Medicaid. Again, that’s wonderful, but it meant that rather than bill them directly, we had to bill Medicaid. And Medicaid reimburses at a very low rate.”
Some of the other Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains affiliate locations will extend their hours to accommodate patients. The affiliate announced six closings recently, including these two facilities in Colorado, three facilities in New Mexico, and one in Wyoming. At least 13 Planned Parenthood facilities have closed or have announced closure this year, including four in Iowa (after that state’s lawmakers decided to defund the abortion provider), as well as two in Pennsylvania, and one in Maryland. Except in Iowa, the efforts to defund the abortion provider were not the cause of the closures, Planned Parenthood officials have said. Most closures are due to patient numbers and finances.
According to their annual reports, Planned Parenthood’s numbers and non-abortion services have declined in the past few years. Its abortion numbers have remained consistent. Planned Parenthood has yet to release its report for 2016.
One refugee family is making things sweet down in Georgia. Ruwaida G, her husband Khaled, and their daughter Zainab and their son Mohamad fled Syria in 2012. They applied for asylum in Jordan and arrived in the U.S. in 2016, with assistance from New American Pathways and Holy Trinity Parish, both of which teamed up to help the family. The family has asked that their last name be kept private so as not to endanger their relatives in Syria.
“We decided to leave Syria because we feared for our lives and for our children’s lives,” Ruwaida said. “There was no safety in Syria wherever we went, and we needed to leave if we wanted to survive.”
After passing the rigorous U.S. vetting processes for immigrants, the family settled in the Atlanta area. Amanda Avutu, who also lives in that area, met Ruwaida and her family after seeing an online post asking for volunteers to help set up the family’s new apartment.
“As I started visiting with the family and getting to know them more, we would go to their house and they would make us coffee and she start serving us cookies. We were going there focused on helping her husband find a job, but then found that she was literally serving us up an opportunity,” Avutu said.
Ruwaida carried a wooden cookie mold with her to the United States, which is used to make traditional Syrian cookies. The cookies are made with a 10-step process and Ruwaida hand molds hers. Avutu and her friends asked Ruwaida about selling her cookies for a profit. Ruwaida was skeptical but gave it a try, baking 45 dozen to sell at a music festival.
“She sold out before the first band played,” Avutu said. Soon after, Ruwaida, her husband, and a group of five friends created Sweet, Sweet Syria, a cookie business that Ruwaida hopes to grow into a successful family enterprise.
“I learned how to make these traditional Syrian cookies from my mother, who learned it from her mother, and so on,” said Ruwaida. “It is a family recipe. I learned how to make them when I was 14 years old and I have been making them ever since.”
Ruwaida, with the help of Avutu, has taken a business accelerator course and signed a lease on a commercial kitchen. She hopes to make cookies to sell at local coffee shops, restaurants and specialty grocery stores. Sweet, Sweet Syria will also expand into online orders soon and, in the future, to offer other Syrian foods as well.
Ruwaida’s husband, Khaled, a former electrician, works as an assistant chef.
“They’re very much partners in this business,” Avutu said. “She was a homemaker previously…and he’s been immensely supportive of her having this opportunity to work. Previously, they hadn’t really thought about that.”
Avutu and Ruwaida’s other friends have started a GoFundMe account to raise the money for her first year of rent on the commercial kitchen and to eventually help the couple open their own store, where people new to the U.S. and long-time citizens can gather. The crowd funding page has raised more than $20,000 of the $30,000 goal.
Ruwaida says she’s happy every time someone enjoys her cookies and the recipe that’s been handed down for generations.
“I am lucky to have a group of dear friends…I couldn’t have made it without them,” she said. “I hope that people who read (my story) see that we had a life before, and because of war we were forced to leave and rebuild our lives in a new country. I want them to know that we are thankful for the generosity of people and their willingness to see us and treat us as fellow human beings.”
The death of Kayla Greenwood’s father, Michael (pictured above, left), was caused by Kenneth Williams in 1998. Williams was charged and convicted with two unrelated murders and manslaughter and was executed for his crimes in late April. But before he died, he received an extraordinary kindness from the Greenwood family.
Kayla learned that Williams has a 21 year-old daughter, Jasmine, whom he hadn’t seen in 17 years and a 3 year-old granddaughter that he had never met. In a gesture of forgiveness, the Greenwoods decided to fly them from Washington to Arkansas, where Williams was being held.
The Greenwoods were waiting for Jasmine and her daughter when they landed at the Little Rock airport. They took them to the prison so Williams could see his daughter and meet his granddaughter. Kayla and the rest of her family were not allowed to see Williams, but she emailed a message to him via his attorney.
“I told him we forgive him and where I stood on it,” said Kayla. “Jasmine said that when the warden read the email to him, he broke out in tears.”
The Greenwoods pushed for Williams to be pardoned, but family members of another of Williams’ victims insistent on the death penalty. The reunion, however, brought some comfort to Williams and his family in his last days.
“When he found out that we are bringing his daughter and granddaughter to see him and that my mom and dad bought the tickets, he was crying to the attorney,” recalled Kayla. “He was sad he couldn’t talk to us.”