The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will consider Texas’ ban on fetal dismemberment, reports the Texas Tribune.
In 2017, Texas legislators passed Senate Bill 8, which prohibited doctors from performing abortions via “dilation and evacuation”–grasping and extracting fetal tissue with surgical instruments. After a federal judge blocked the measure, Texas sought to reinstate the bill before the Fifth Circuit Court.
Justices on the court heard arguments from Texas attorneys and litigators from pro-abortion groups, including the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood. Texas assistant solicitor general Heather Gebelin Hacker deemed dilation and evacuation a “barbaric” procedure. “It’s illegal to kill an animal that way in Texas, we wouldn’t execute a murderer that way, and notably the abortion providers don’t tell women that that’s what the procedure entails,” Hacker stated.
Hacker noted that less harmful abortion methods, such as potassium chloride injections, have a proven safety record and are currently available at abortion clinics. Thus, Texas’ ban on fetal dismemberment would not affect abortion access in the state.
Center for Reproductive Rights counsel Janet Crepps, meanwhile, responded that the ban was “invasive” and “medically unnecessary,” and that potassium chloride injections increase patients’ risk for complications. “Just the idea the state thinks that’s what’s within its power is contrary to the whole idea that women have a right to autonomy, dignity,” Crepps added.
Judges on the Fifth Circuit Court asked litigators to interpret Alabama’s dilation and evacuation ban, which was struck down by the Eleventh circuit Court of Appeals. The justices also sought clarification on potassium chloride injections.
Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller told reporters after the hearing that alternative abortion methods, such as injections, are “absolutely not the standard of care.” Referring to Alabama’s failed dilation and evacuation law, Miller stated, “I really lean on the fact that a [dilation and evacuation] ban hasn’t withstood these kind of proceedings to date.”
Emily Horne, a senior legislative associate for Texas Right to Life, expressed a different view. “It comes down to we’re really talking about a modest restriction on a very brutal abortion procedure while the child is alive,” she said.
Observers expect the court to issue its ruling in the next few months.
“Can you lend a hand?” was a question formulated by October Books, an independent bookstore, located in Southhampton, England. Volunteers were needed for “heavy manual work.” It was crucial for volunteers to lift and carry boxes and office supplies. Among the supplies included thousands of books. This question came from October Books after they struggled to afford the rising rent prices of the store they occupied since 1970. Aside from the price issue, the bookstore had to figure out how to move their stock without having to pay for expensive moving services. This was when October Books pleaded for volunteers to form a chain between the old store and the new location. At first only a few showed up, but to their astonishment — over 200 people lined up on the pavement to pass out 2,000 books. “It was very moving,” Ms. Hynes, a bookstore employee told The New York Times, adding all employees “got choked up” over the community’s help. Amy Brown, one of the store’s employees told NPR her stunned reaction to the turnout. “I was handing books to people without actually seeing the entirety of it,” Brown said. “So it was only after about 20 minutes I actually went out to the road and saw the extent of the people.” “We wanted something that was accessible for the whole family, for children and people who were older who wouldn’t necessarily be able to paint or move heavy pieces, to help out,” Ms. Hynes said. Even passing pedestrians would jump in to help. Nearby cafe’s even brought teas and coffees for the volunteers. “It was really sort of surprising and positive and just a really moving experience to see people chipping in because they wanted to help. And they wanted to be part of something bigger,” Brown told NPR. Overall, the bookstore has bigger plans as well. “The shop plans to sell the second floor of the former back building to a charity in Southampton to create supportive housing for homeless people and to create a community hub in the back,” Ms. Hynes said.
Every year, students are chosen from around the United States to compete in the nation’s top tier science and math contest. This year, 30 students were chosen from only 14 states, and Washington County’s own high school student in Beaverton is one of them.
Pratik Vangal is a freshmen at Sunset High, but in the eighth-grade at Stoller Middle School, he invented a solution for poor air quality after observing in Bangalore, India at his grandparent’s home the difficult situations many families undergo due to poor ventilation and fires created from wood and trash.
The ventilation system is made out of solar wafers and small desktop computer fans and costs merely $5 per system. When it is wired to the sides of the home, it can clear the air in as short as a minute. Vangal won first place for his fan at the Intel Northwest Science Expo at Portland State University, and it was at this expo that he learned about the prestigious competition.
The competition runs from last Friday through Tuesday and will take into consideration the students’ projects that they will present as well as various scientific and mathematical challenges to test their reasoning and leadership. Winners will be announced this Wednesday.
Read more about Vangal’s project as well as the competition here.
In 2012, a man approached the bicycle ice cream cart with money and a strange request — give his paid for ice cream to someone else. Later this became Stacey Achterhoff’s inspiration for starting a pay-it-forward ice cream. After Achterhoff’s great aunt died in 2009, she wanted to give ice cream as a means of bringing joy to people. “I’m a person of faith, and what do you do when terrible things happen? You have to figure out where the light is,” she said. In 2012, after Achterhoff traveled to Missouri for the sentencing of the young man on trial for murdering her great aunt, she read the family’s statement just feet away from the man. “He was a lot of little boys that I’d seen,” she said. “He was sentenced to life in prison; my aunt was dead. What happened to a person to end up on that path? What do you do? You either choose to be ridiculously angry or you choose to say “I wonder what happened to that person.” She thought about the people and community and changes she could bring. “I had to do something that slows people down and brings them together,” she said. After she saw a man cycling and delivering ice cream she knew she wanted to sell and give away ice cream. Later, she connected with Stephen Gallivar of Leprechan’s Dream Cycle who ended up giving her the 411 on popular ice cream treats as well as the truth about delivering ice cream. “Without getting too mystical, it looks like it’s about selling ice cream,” Gallivan said in a phone interview to the Duluth News Tribune. “When you’re on the street connecting with your community in the way that we do, it’s a lot more than ice-cream. There is something beautiful and magical about it.” For three summers now, Achtenhoff has established herself as an ice cream vendor in Duluth, Minnesota giving away hundreds of ice cream cones and popsicles bought by community members who have the desire to pay it forward. She even has a coconut Bliss Bar that is soy, gluten, and dairy-free. Achterhoff not only sells and gives away ice cream, but she is also a teacher for families in transition for more than 100 kids in kindergarten through fifth grade in Duluth Public schools. She teaches various subjects and even hears stories from children who don’t have happy upbringings. “The work I do is a gift, a privilege,” she said. One summer, students were even able to see her transition from teacher to the ice cream saleswoman, wearing the uniform and displaying the bike. “They stopped calling me ‘Mrs. A’ and started calling me ‘Mrs. Delicious,’” she said. Meanwhile, Achterhoff will not stop selling and giving away ice cream anytime soon. The biggest purpose for her, in regards to selling ice cream, is to create interconnectedness and joy in the community. She refers to her bicycle as her “tenny wennie vehicle for social change.” “People want to know that goodness is prevailing over evil and they want to be part of that,” Achterhoff told Kare.
“This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels — and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it.”
This excerpt is from the grand jury report for the trial of Gosnell and his constituents, who were found guilty of first-degree murder of newborns as well as two mothers. In what could characterize a serial killer documentary, the report describes how the police walked into a horror site: cat urine, trash scattered everywhere, unsanitized instruments, and most shockingly, newborn feet kept in jars. The trial, in 2011, should have received national coverage, but due to its controversial nature on abortion, it was ignored by many in the press.
Fast foward to October 12, 2018, when the new movie, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, will be released to the public. The movie is based on the research and book of Ann McElhinney, who also drafted the script for the movie along with fellow producer, Phelim McAleer. Both were moved to change their positions on abortion after uncovering the details of Gosnell’s abortion clinic and case. Ann McElhinney states this clearly in her book:
“Reading the testimony and sifting through the evidence in Gosnell’s case, in the research for my book and for writing the script of the movie, has been brutal. I have at times wept at my computer. I have found myself praying the Our Father sitting at my desk when I hadn’t prayed in years. At times when I was confronted with the worst of this story I didn’t know what else to do. I have had a profound sense of the presence of evil in the actions of Gosnell and his staff, and their complete lack of conscience.”
After being released on October 12th, it is receiving widespread attention from conservative and liberal media alike, giving it the attention it deserved seven years ago at the trial. Reviewers are applauding its portrayal of Gosnell’s horror house, describing the movie’s banal depiction of evil as chilling and incredibly moving. One reviewer, Rebecca Hagelin, with the Washington Times stated in her review, “The filmmakers created a brilliant work that shows no graphic details or gore, but simply presents the powerful reality of abortion as described by abortion providers and crime investigators in their actual court testimony.”
Another reviewer, Mike McGranaghan, stated in his review, “On the whole, Gosnell is a well-acted and compelling courtroom drama. Women suffered greatly under Kermit Gosnell’s “care,” as did babies who emerged alive. The story of what he did is, irrespective of the national debate on abortion, important to have told. The film tells that story passionately and with feeling.”
Go see Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer in select theaters October 12th. Check out the official Gosnell movie website for more information.
It was a blast from the past when Brandon Seminatore, a doctor, and nurse Vilma Wong reconnected.
Wong, 54, has worked as a neonatal nurse for 32 years at the hospital in Palo Alto, California.
One day, curiousity catapulted at her brain after she saw the name Seminatore on a young doctor’s ID badge.
Approximately, 30 years ago, there was a premature baby with the same last name Wong cared for. The baby weighed 2 pounds and 6 ounces and was born at 29 weeks on April 19, 1990.
After Seminatore settled into his job, Wong had asked Seminatore about his background.
“She asked me if I grew up in this area, he said. “I said, ‘yes I was actually born in this hospital.’”
Wong knew the name sounded familar. “I kept asking where he was from and he told me that he was from San Jose, California, and that, as a matter of fact, he was a premature baby born at our hospital,” Wong said. “I then got very suspicious because I remember being the primary nurse to a baby with the same last name.”
Seminatore’s mother told him about a nurse she and his father bonded with during his time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 40 days.
Another nurse worked with Wong. His mother had urged him to find both nurses when he was on his month-long rotation at the hospital’s NICU. “They were wonderful nurses,” his mom, Laura Seminatore said. “They helped calm a lot of our fears.”
“My mother said, ‘look for Vilma,’ he recalled. “She was our favorite nurse. She took care of you.”
Very soon, Seminatore questioned if he knew this nurse and Wong was still suspicious.
“There was a big silence,” Wong said. “And then he asked if I was Vilma.”
Seminatore immediately texted his parents when he and Wong reunited in the NICU.
Recently, the nurse and doctor took a photo together in the NICU. Now, Seminatore is a few inches taller and wearing scrubs. Both have elated smiles on their faces.
Wong is not considering retirement any time soon because she loves her job too much.
“As a nurse, it’s kind of like your reward,” she said. Seminatore agrees. “She cares deeply for her patients, to the point that she was able to remember a patient’s name almost three decades later.”
It was such an awe-inspiring event for Seminatore and Wong that both not stop smiling.
“In the end I didn’t have to look for Vilma,” he said. “She found me. We smiled that whole day.”