OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—
On the heels of its groundbreaking legislation banning dismemberment abortions, Oklahoma is now set to pass a bill mandating a 72-hour waiting period for abortions.
The Oklahoma House voted 75-3 on Thursday to approve the bill, which now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk.
“In Oklahoma, we have a waiting period for divorce of 10 days. If there are minor children it is 90 days,” said Sen. Greg Treat. “We should also take it very seriously when we’re talking about the irrevocable decision of abortion.”
If the governor signs the bill, Oklahoma will become the fourth state with a 72-hour waiting period. The other states are Missouri, South Dakota and Utah.
Oregon currently has no waiting period or other restrictions on abortion: a woman can obtain an abortion at any time during pregnancy.
Helena Andrews, a Washington Post gossip columnist attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, was apparently so glued to her phone that she couldn’t even take a break for the national anthem.
She was caught on camera by a CNN videographer and promptly roasted on social media.
“At #whcd disgusting disrespect for flag and anthem,” one person tweeted.
Another added, “*sigh* That’s disturbing. Well, I’m glad some folks in that photo are being respectful.”
After realizing she had been caught on TV camera, Andrews identified herself and attempted an explanation. “Apparently someone saw me on TV ‘texting’ during the dinner. FTR I was taking notes. On my phone. Because it’s 2015.”
Her text only added to the uproar. “Have respect and wait 3 minutes to take ‘notes’. People died for you,” someone said.
“We’re all well aware of the year. Respect for the National Anthem is timeless,” someone else added.
An apparent veteran chimed in: “…and to think I fight for your freedom. Everyone who’s replied to this is right. You show no respect…”
“There are those that defend this country and are moved to their soul by that song every time it plays!”
Someone pointed out there is not much difference between “taking notes” and “texting”: “As if that is any more excusable than texting? Were you writing down the words of the song before you forgot them? Come on.”
Shortly after the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Col. Yoram Laredo, of the IDF Home Front, discussed ways to assist the country.
Just before the meeting, Netanyahu said, “You are being sent on an important mission. This is the real face of Israel — a country that offers help at any distance in moments such as these.”
The Home Front Command assistance team Israel is sending in approximately 260 personnel. At the time of the meeting, an advance team was already in Nepal, preparing for the rest of the team to arrive.
The team’s goals are locating missing Israelis, rescuing people trapped under rubble, and providing the thousands of earthquake victims with medical care.
An extensive field hospital will be set up as well. “As time passes, the focus will move from search and rescue to hospital treatment. The hospital can treat 200 patients a day,” Laredo said. “We can link up with local heavy engineering vehicles.”
Israeli delegations have assisted in many disasters, including in Haiti and the Philippines.“It’s a blessed thing that a variety of Israeli delegations are going, as from my experience, in situations like this, everyone who arrives will be needed and have work to do,” said Dov Meisel, a volunteer paramedic.
“The Nepal government asked for help, and Israelis rush to help,” Meisel said.
Last Friday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission decided to begin deliberating whether or not to remove gray wolves from the state’s endangered species list.
Oregon’s 77 known wolves are a dramatic improvement from when the state’s gray wolves became extinct in 1947. The wolves slowly returned from surrounding Northwest states, and Oregon now boasts 4 breeding pairs.
“Wolves are a success story in Oregon,” ODFW wolf coordinator Russ Morgan told the Statesman Journal. “Their population is growing, and their range is expanding.”
Conservation and wildlife officials are currently debating whether the wolf population is stable enough for the animals to be taken off the endangered species list.
“It’s kind of a gamble to delist wolves right now, with such low numbers,” legal director for Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands Nick Cady said. “If a few more wolves were killed than ODFW anticipates, it could swing wolves in the direction of conservation failure.”
Despite concern, the commission meeting on Friday decided to propose two bills for further consideration: one promoting the complete removal of the wolves from the endangered species list, and one re-categorizing the species as merely “threatened.”
“It’s hard to make a reasonable case that 77 known animals of any species is a legitimate, sustainable recovery,” Rob Klavins of Oregon Wild told OPB. “And it’s not appropriate to be treating wolves differently just because they may be controversial for some people.”
Little will change immediately if ODFW removes wolves from the endangered species list. In most of the state, gray wolves will still be protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and Oregon’s Wolf Plan – promoting non-lethal control in dealing with the animals.
Many argue that the ODFW title protects wolves nonetheless.
“Our main concern is the message it sends, that people will take it the wrong way and we’ll see more people going out and shooting wolves,” Cady said. “It has been our non-lethal policies that have made wolves such a success in Oregon.”
First there was one, then there were four. On the heels of candidacy announcements by Ted Cruz and Rand Paul come two more: Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.
Clinton announced her candidacy on Sunday in a two-minute video. The video featured scenes of people, predominantly minorities, preparing to do various things. Near the end, Clinton appeared and said, “I’m getting ready to do something too. I’m running for president.”
“Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,” Clinton said. “So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote — because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”
Rubio had more to say when he announced his candidacy at the Freedom Tower in Miami. “Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday,” Rubio said. “Yesterday’s over, and we’re never going back.”
Rubio said the “dangerous concessions” to Iran and the “hostility” towards Israel need to end. “We must change the decisions we are making, by changing the people who are making them,” he said. “That is why tonight, grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.”
“I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a difference as president,” he said. “I have a debt to America I must try to repay.”
More candidates will be announced over the next few months as the primary election approaches. It remains to be seen who will secure the nominations for the various parties.
On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Senate voted 37-4 in favor of House Bill 1721, which would ban dismemberment abortions, with exceptions if the mother’s life is in danger. The House voted strongly in favor of the bill back in February, and it now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.
“We applaud the Oklahoma legislature for standing up for unborn children by passing the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act,” said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias. “This is a transformative law that has the power to change how the public views the gruesome reality of abortion in the United States.”
The procedure is brutal, as noted by a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 2000. “The fetus, in many cases, dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. “The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off.”
“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”
Approximately 250 of these abortions were performed in 2013 alone, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “It’s gruesome,” said Sen. Josh Brecheen, a major supporter of the bill.
Amid support for the bill, there were also strong objections. “While women should not have to justify their personal medical decisions, the reality is that nine in 10 abortions in the U.S. occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy,” Angie Remington, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, said. “Abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy is less common, but in all cases, a woman and her doctor need every medical option available.”
Still, pro-life activists were jubilant. “The Oklahoma legislature is to be commended for protecting unborn children and prohibiting this barbaric inhumanity,” said Oklahomans For Life State Chairman Tony Lauinger.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a similar bill into law Tuesday, making Kansas the first state to ban the procedure.
Missouri and South Carolina are currently considering similar legislation.