Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a controversial abortion bill on May 15 that may have the ability to penalize doctors who conduct abortions with life in prison.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey, a Republican, said in a statement, as reported by CNN. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
The bill was approved 24-6 by the Alabama Senate on Tuesday, May 14. The law’s only allowances include “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the child in the womb has “a lethal anomaly,” as told by CNN. Democrats attempted an amendment to exclude cases such as rape and incest victims, but the motion was not successful, with an 11-21 vote.
Ivey mentioned in her statement that this law may be difficult to enforce because of the Supreme Court’s case, Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in every American state. The intention of this new law was to challenge Roe v. Wade, Ivey said.
“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable,” Ivey wrote. “As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
Alabama is now at the forefront of passing measures to protect unborn babies. Georgia’s Gov. Kemp recently signed a pro-life protection bill, you can read about it here.
Read more about this story at https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/15/politics/alabama-governor-signs-bill/index.html.
The Gannaway brothers, Tim and Jim, are known in Warrenton, OR for their jewelry. They are able to turn stones, opals, sapphires, and diamonds into masterpieces. Since 1973, the twins have owned Gannaway Brothers Jewelers. But what some do not know about the brothers is that they almost became abortion survivors.
They were born in April 1951 in a Catholic hospital in St. Paul Minnesota. Their mother Jan almost had an abortion, but soon decided against it. “I never went through with the abortion because I wanted babies,” she said.
Afterwards, Tim and Jim were born prematurely, with Tim weighing two pounds and 14 ounces; Jim weighing three pounds. As a result the twins remained in incubators from April 30 – July 6. Jan finally picked them up when Jim made it to five pounds.
Growing up was hard for the brothers. As a result of their extended stay– the twins garnered poor eyesight, lung problems, and pneumonia. “I had to feed them 24 hours a day,” Jan said.
After high school, Tim still had trouble reading in school, only reading at a “sixth grade level with 20% comprehension,” he said. After 12 years in Catholic school, the brothers went their separate ways, before seeing each other after one year. Jim attended the University of Minnesota and Tim went to Bemidji State College.
In college, Tim majored in Chemistry “because it was easier than having to read” he said. After enrolling in a jewelry making course, he developed a passion for the craft. Jim also took on an interest, deciding to form a jewelry business with his brother. After the Capital Scare, they could not afford the expensive equipment. They had to solder, form, and bend every component of each piece of jewelry by hand.
Shortly after the 1973 oil embargo hit, they owed over $12,000 to suppliers and had no way to pay it back. Jim found a farming job in Wisconsin and Tim moved to Astoria, OR in response to an ad for a jeweler that his parents, Bob and Jan Gannaway, who was living in Portland, saw in The Oregonian. Jim and his family shortly followed. The brothers worked on shrimp boats to pay back the sums. By 1979 the debt was paid off and the jewelry store was making quite a bit of profit.
Today, Jim and Tim not only successfully run their jewelry store, but alongside their mother — continue to be advocates for pro life.
Jan believes in alternatives to abortion, while simultaneously being empathetic toward women contemplating abortion.
(To women thinking about abortion) “I would have to go with what I think and say you’re making a mistake,” Jan said. “You’re not looking at the whole picture. I understand these thoughts, ‘Now what am I going to do? What am I going to say? What am I gonna do with a baby?’ Yeah, all of that to me is solvable. It can be solved as time goes on. So, no it’s not necessary to ever abort.”
“With a woman, that’s your body and your body changes,” Jan said. “You are changing with it. And the horror of that could be beyond your wildest dream. You don’t even conceive that.”
Tim and Jim offered advice for spouses forcing their loved ones to get abortions.
“Who are we to decide what life is going to be for this child?” Tim asked. “I would also ask, ‘Would you be interested in considering another view?’ And if they said they would, I would explain to them the differences in human morality versus absolute morality. But if they said ‘no,’ there’s nothing to talk about. The best thing to do is try and understand the person you are talking to. If someone is open, show them what a child would look like in the physical world.”
“Life doesn’t come from a mother, it comes from God,” Jim said. “And the new life you created in your own image and likeness.”
Close your eyes and imagine for a second what it feels like to be excluded and isolated because your mind and eyes work differently. That’s how it felt for 5-year-old Carter Braconi, a boy with autism and ADHD.
It was his birthday recently and he wanted to go to a skate park with his mother in his home state of New Jersey. What he and his mother were not expecting was to come across a group of teenage skateboarders.
After the teenagers arrived, Carter was experiencing too much stimulation and became nervous, until he was befriended by 13-year-old Gavin, a teenage boy a part of the skateboarding group.
Initially, Gavin spoke to Carter to give him tips on how to safely roll down the skate ramps without falling. Afterwards, he taught him how to skateboard.
The boys connected like long time friends, laughing and chatting away.
Learning it was Carter’s birthday, Gavin and his friends sung “happy birthday” and even presented Carter with a mini skateboard for a birthday present.
Kristen Braconi, Carter’s mother was very touched by the teenager’s kindness and posted several videos of their interactions to a Autism Facebook group, praising them for their actions.
“They were absolutely amazing with him and included him and were so beyond kind, it brought me to tears,” wrote Braconi. “I can’t even begin to thank these kids for being so kind and showing him how wonderful people can be to complete strangers.”
She bought them ice cream, but felt it wasn’t enough for gratitude. “Thank you to whoever these children are and thank you to their parents because you are doing a wonderful job!!!”
The videos were shared thousands of times until they eventually caught the eye of local news outlets and police officers.
The police department gave the teenagers honorary coins as appreciation for their compassion.
Braconi plans to arrange a pizza party for the teenagers as a thank you for making her son feel happy and included.
“That day made me feel overjoyed to see kind, compassionate, respectful teenagers doing the right thing on their own,” Braconi told People.
Plaxedes “Gogo” Dilon always walks miles for her job as a clothing saleswoman. Everyday she wakes up before dawn to travel across Zimbabwe to sell clothes.
After hearing about the storm affecting Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique — she wanted to pursue anything to help those affected.
Immediately, Dillon filled a bag with kitchen supplies and clothes (she initially intended to resell) and gave it all to a disaster relief area.
Penniless and unable to afford bus fare, she walked 10 miles to bring the supplies to Highlands Presbyterian Church in Harare. There, numerous volunteers have been assisting in relief efforts for thousands displaced.
After Dilon brought the supplies, church members took a photo of Dilon with the bag balanced on her head and posted it to social media. The church stated she was not able to afford bus fare and walked a long way.
Once the photo was posted, it caught the attention of Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa, who promised Dilon a home anywhere in Zimbabwe with running water and solar power, as well as $1,000 per month.
“What she did is one of the most remarkable acts of compassion I have ever seen,” wrote Masiyiwa. “When this is over, I’m going to find her, and invite her to come and see me, if possible. Then I will spend time in prayer with her. “
Masiyiwa’s company is helping those affected by the cyclone and continues to be pleased by Dilon’s generous act.
“I admire people who are moved to act in a crisis! God bless you if you are moved to act as she did,” he wrote. “It is not about how much you have.”
Other countries and relief organizations worldwide have been offering support and aid for the cyclone victims in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique, where more than 750 were estimated to have been killed by the cyclone.
Dilon, a great-grandmother of nine and a widow of 11 years, has expressed her appreciation of her reward. When asked about her kind act, she said it is the act of being a human being that drew her to help. “Being able to feel each other’s pain and to carry each other’s burden is what makes humanity great and better than other species,” the granny told The Sunday Mail with a smile. “What you give out in the world is what you receive back.”
For the first time in history, the world’s most prestigious mathematics prize is awarded to a woman.
Karen Uhlenbeck, Ph.D., 76, a emeritus professor at the University of Texas, Austin and current visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study was honored with the Abel prize, a.k.a, a Nobel prize for mathematics. The Abel comes with a prize of $700,000 and the King of Norway will present the prize to Uhlenbeck in Oslo in May.
Uhlenbeck was recognized due to her, “pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry, and mathematical physics,” according to The New York Times.
She found out about her award after leaving her Unitarian Universalist Church, when she received a message from a colleague telling her to keep an eye out for a call from Norway. She checked her missed calls. “I pressed the button and called the Abel committee back, and they told me I’d won — and I had to sit down,” she told Glamour.
Another notable scientific contribution was Uhlenbeck’s work with predictive mathematics inspired by soap bubbles.
“Her theories have revolutionized our understanding of minimal surfaces, such as those formed by soap bubbles, and more general minimization problems in higher dimensions,” said Hans Munthe-Kaas, the chairman of the Abel Committee.
“The recognition of Uhlenbeck’s achievements should have been far greater, for her work has led to some of the most important advances in mathematics in the last 40 years,” said Jim Al-Khalili, Royal Society Fellow.
In the 1960’s, Uhlenbeck had to work tirelessly to even become a professor. “It was really only at the period of time that I got my degree, that the jobs in academia—and probably elsewhere—were slowly being opened up to women,” she says. “I was right on the edge of that. There were certainly universities that would not consider hiring me. There were universities that said, ‘Oh well, why don’t you go teach at a women’s college?’ I was told things like that, but I guess I have a rebellious streak, so I persevered.”
As a child, she loved reading and wanted to become a scientist, but because there were not a significant amount of women before her time in STEM, she looked to other women for inspiration who had pioneered in other fields. The famous Julia Child was a particular role model for her. “She was 6’2″, a big woman with this immense presence,” she says. Uhlenbeck recalls the story of Child dropping a turkey on her television show and carrying on nonetheless. “She had a presence and wasn’t perfect. The feeling was if Julia Child could do it, maybe you could too,” she says.
Over the years, Uhlenbeck emulated Child’s style of approachability, gentleness, and the ability to be a role model to many women desiring to enter the STEM field. “Since winning the award, I’ve gotten innumerable emails from women telling me how important my being there is, and it’s a great feeling,” she says.
“I have to say that it struck me at some point that if I were to look around and see no women coming up through mathematics behind me, how would I feel? I would feel terrible. Now I see these lively, enthusiastic, brilliant, wacky young women coming up and doing mathematics. When I was young, I couldn’t afford to be wacky. I had to be careful. I couldn’t dye my hair purple and get up and teach a calculus class, but I love seeing it; it’s wonderful to see.”
Today, she is a contributing scholar at Princeton University as well as the Institute for Advanced Study. She is one of the founders of the Park City Mathematics Institute, which strives to train younger researchers in their interests and in the challenges faced in mathematics.
Uhlenbeck hopes more women will come to work in mathematics. “I don’t know how many young girls are still being told that they don’t have to bother taking advanced-placement math because they’re a girl and they don’t need it—but I know it still happens. However, all I can say is that it’s getting better.”
House Bill 2217, which will effectively legalize euthanasia, is scheduled for a public hearing in the Oregon Legislature’s House Health Care Committee on Tuesday, March 19.
Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide in 1997. Since then, 1,459 patients have taken the lethal medication to end their lives. Currently, there are several reasons patients claim as their reason for requesting assisted suicide. According to deathwithdignity.org, “The most frequently reported end-of-life concerns were loss of autonomy (91.7%), decreasing ability to participate in activities that made life enjoyable (90.5%), and loss of dignity (66.7%). During 2018, the estimated rate of deaths under the law was 45.9 per 10,000 total deaths in the state.”
Under the current law, patients must physically ingest medication by themselves. When requesting life-ending medication, patients must sign a form stating “I expect to die when I take the medication to be prescribed.”
However, Oregon lawmakers are seeking to expand the scope of this bill by changing the definition of “taking” to “self-administer.” As defined by HB 2217, “self-administer” means “a qualified patient’s physical act of ingesting or delivering by another method medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.”
Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, stated, “There is no safety mechanism in place to ensure that another person isn’t the one administering the medication. By adding ‘delivering by another method’ they are redefining the law to allow the drugs to be administered through an IV, feeding tube, injection, or even through a gas mask. And, potentially, by a person other than the patient.”
The proposed changes appear to contradict the intention of Oregonians when they narrowly legalized assisted suicide. When voters approved Measure 16 in 1994 it explicitly stated, “This measure does not authorize lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia.”
HB 2217 would effectively legalize euthanasia in Oregon by involving more people in the deaths of vulnerable Oregonians.
Oregonians will be gathering in protest of HB 2217 at the hearing on Tuesday, March 19th. For more details or to contact committee members in opposition, please go to https://www.ortl.org/noeuthanasia/.