Texas seeks ban on fetal dismemberment

Texas seeks ban on fetal dismemberment

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.

 

 

Filmaker sits with Neo-Nazis and gets the experience of a lifetime

Filmaker sits with Neo-Nazis and gets the experience of a lifetime

Emmy Award- winning filmmaker Deeyah Khan was scared for her life when she met with Neo-Nazis for the first time.

Her fear perpetuated her. As Khan filmed members of the group, some of them followed her around, threatening to kill her if she made one wrong move.

“In my mind, I was just thinking if anything happens right now, which it probably will, they could just bury me right here and nobody would ever know,” Khan said.

Despite her fear and distrust and dislike from the neo-Nazis, she wanted to know why men could hate so much.

“I decided to pick up my camera and go and see if I could sit down with people who feel this intense dislike, or even hatred, towards people like me,” Khan told Peace News.

The question of why men could hate so much, inspired her to release her film “White Right: meeting the Enemy.”

“For me it’s about primarily getting in touch with our common humanity,” Khan told Peace News. “To see if it’s possible for us to break down the prejudices that exist between groups.”

Her first interview was with Ken Parker, a member of the National Socialist Movement, the biggest white supremacist organization in America.

Parker’s bare torso was adorned with a swastika tattoo on the right of his chest and a Klan tattoo on the left.

Khan asked him, “Does it matter to you that I think what you are doing is wrong?” 

Parker answered with a “no” and became increasingly frustrated and nervous as the questions rolled on. He admitted he was “not responsible for other people’s feelings.” 

Khan went on to describe the experience. First describing it as awkward without the anticipated context of angry mobs shouting — but then conveyed  a dynamic shift. She continued to be a listening ear.

Overtime, Khan interviewed other white supermarkets and neo-nazis, trying to figure out their motivations.

She figured out that most of the hate stemmed from the stories of their past rooted in abandonment, not fitting in, hopelessness, shame and humiliation, and longing to belong.

“They’re rejected for various reasons in other aspects of their lives,” she explained. “So whether it is feeling rejected by women, or by the job market, by society at large, or feeling as if you don’t measure up, not feeling good enough, shame, feeling humiliated, feeling emasculated.”

Khan added on stating that while there are hate groups — a lot of their actions are driven by love — a love for fellow members of the group who have given them a sense of family and a sense of purpose.

After Khan interviewed Parker and others like him, she felt a sense of liberation.

“It reminded me that they are just people, they are just human beings,” she said. “I have spent my entire life being stereotyped, I am not going to turn around and do that to somebody else.”

The Norwegian born filmmaker, who now resides in the UK recently earned an International Emmy award for her film and was previously nominated for BAFTA awards. Her film was released to Netflix in June and is streaming in America and the UK.

Parker eventually became touched by Khan’s actions. So touched, he removed all his hateful tattoos and renounced his membership in these organizations.

“He turned his back on the entire community,” Khan said. “He left them behind based on a principle he no longer wants to subscribe to.”

Overall, in reflecting on her documentary, Khan realized her project’s main aspect. 

“We all have the capacity to effect change,” she said. “Just being human beings with each other, threatening each other with respect and dignity. You know how we feel when someone smiles at us or says something nice, it makes us feel great. The same if someone gives us a dirty look, it shifts how we feel.”



A Millenial Rescues a Famous Missing Pup

A Millenial Rescues a Famous Missing Pup

There have been several alerts right after a Youtube-famous-kiteboarding dog went missing from his family last week.

16-year-old Cameroon Maramendies began posting videos of Zeus, a seven-year-old Jack Russell Terrier kateboarding.

Maramendies, a kiteboarder who will compete for team USA in the 2020 Olympics was at a Kiteboarding event in St.Petersburg, Florida when his dog was kidnapped by an older gentleman in a gray Sedan.

Zeus accompanied the family to the event, but stayed behind in the car. When the family returned from the competition, Zeus was already gone.

The family contacted police, hired a pet detective and even offered a $3,500 reward for the return of Zeus; no questions asked. The family simply wanted their dog back.

Maramendies was overcome with worry until an individual helped out.

This individual was Miguel Camacho, an electrian’s apprentice who was studying in West Tampa Park, when he heard about the missing Jack Terrier.

During his study break, a friend of his shared the missing dog article on Facebook. Sparked by curiosity, he read through the article. Seconds later he saw the missing dog.

“I was sitting there reading the article,” Camacho told Tampa Bay Times. “The guy pulls up, gets out of the car, grabs the dog, and I’m thinking ‘man this looks just like that dog.”

After seeing the man in the gray Sedan get out — he snapped a picture of the pup and sent it to Maramendies’ phone, which was listed in a newspaper. The Olympian responded quickly, claiming the dog with the familiar black spots over his eyes, was Zeus.

Camacho did not know whether the man was armed or dangerous and police were not allowed to intervene unless the owner was present.

Maramendies asked Camacho if he could keep an eye on Zeus and his supposed abductor. Camacho heard the despair in the families voices.

Camacho only wanted to help the Maramendies family in any way he could.

When Camacho saw the abductor leave, he got into his car and followed the gray Sedan for a few miles. The abductor stopped, got out of the car and questioned why Camacho was following him.

“I believe the dog isn’t yours,” Camacho told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m on the phone with his owner right now.”

Camacho then walked to the gray Sedan and shouted “Zesus.” The Jack Terrier jumped and ran to him. Later that afternoon, Camacho brought the dog to the car and left the scene. He then met with the Maramendies family in the Westshore Plaza parking lot.

Camacho learned about the reward when he met the family. He picked up the reward money and told Tampa Bay Times as to how he was going to spend the money.

“I have two kids,” he said. “I’m gonna do some Christmas shopping for them and put the rest in their savings accounts.”

Helen Trotman, Maramendies’ mom, was grateful for Camacho’s heroic and kind-hearted act.

“We are feeling completely exhausted, yet elated, and we are still pinching ourselves to see if we are dreaming,” Helen Trotman told Tampa Bay Times. “We are so fortunate Miguel was there and was willing to put himself into a possible dangerous situation to get their dog back.”





Muslims Raise significant funds for Pittsburgh Synagogue

Muslims Raise significant funds for Pittsburgh Synagogue

Last Week, 11 Jews were shot outside of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg.

Recently, two Muslim organizations, Celebrate Mercy and MPower Change have partnered to create a fundraising page for victims and families affected by the shooting.

Within six hours, the  Muslims Unite for Pittsburgh Synagogue reached it’s initial goal of $25,000.

On the fundraising page, Muslim-American speaker and activist Tarek El-Messidi wrote:

“We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us and send a powerful message of compassion through action.” He also quoted the Koran stating, “repel evil by that which is better.”

The purpose of the fundraiser is to meet the needs of the injured victims and grieving families. The funds will also go toward funeral expenses and medical bills.

“No amount of money will bring back their loved ones, but we do hope to lessen their burden in some way,” wrote El Messidi.

According to El Messidi who started the Muslim crowdfunding site called Launchgood, said 70% of people are Muslim while the other percentage make up those with different religious backgrounds.

He believes an attack on one religion is an attack on people from all backgrounds.

“In religion, we’re all worshipping a higher power, especially with our Jewish cousins,” El Messidi said.

“We share a lot theologically with the Jewish community and a foundational teaching is you never harm religious spaces — regardless if it’s a mosque, a temple, or church. One should never be worried about being harmed or killed in a place of worship.”

Despite a troubled world, from El Messidi’s perspective, he still believes responding to evil with good is an effective method.

“People have much more good than they have evil,” he said. “People are generally good-hearted and peaceful. When people get to know each other, things like this don’t happen.”

From a New York Times article, there have been dozens of candlelight vigils to show cohesion with the synagogue. Blood banks have also stayed open late to accommodate the crowd of donors.

Shay Khatiri, an Irianian-American man from Washington, DC created a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for the synagogue as well. In six days it has raised over $1 million. He said the donor page had similar results to the Launch Good Page.

“There are Steins and Bergs, and there are Mohammads. There are generic American names and there are Asian ones,” Khatiri said. “It is only fitting that Americans of all backgrounds — immigrant, native-born, Jewish, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, etc. — are unfitting against this hateful act. America is beautiful!”

Ryan Chumberger, a supporter for Khatiri’s campaign wrote, “This is the least I can do to express my sympathy for the Jewish community and the Jewish people who have touched my life. You are a light in the world which will not be snuffed out by the jealous and hateful. We need to stand together against this and all attacks on our freedom to be ourselves and follow our conscience.”

Overall, The Launch Good campaign and other campaigns share this initial goal: 

“While those senseless acts have filled us with sorrow, we reflect on the message of unity, tolerance, and mutual protection found in the Constitution of Medina: a historical social contract between the Medinan Jews and the first Muslim community. We are also inspired by the example of our Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, who stood up to pay respects for a passing funeral procession. When questioned on why he stood for a Jewish funeral, he responded, ‘is it not a human soul?’”


Support for abortion has declined, new poll shows

Support for abortion has declined, new poll shows

According to a recent poll sponsored by Ligonier Ministries, more than half of Americans believe abortion is a sin, reports PR Newswire. Fifty-two percent of respondents considered abortion to be sinful, up from 49% just two years ago.

LifeWay Research interviewed 3,000 American adults from a variety of demographic backgrounds for the 2018 State of Theology survey, an annual poll which tracks public opinion on topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and gender identity.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offered his assessment of the study’s results. “These survey results may surprise some people, but pro-life beliefs have definitely been gaining ground in recent years. . . . With a majority agreeing that abortion is a sin, we have a clear indication that many Americans want the state to restore protection for the unborn child.”

The survey not only considered Americans’ aggregate views on abortion, but also tracked the responses of various age groups. In a heartening result for pro-life advocates, the survey revealed that millenial Americans (those aged 18-34) expressed stronger opposition to abortion than any other age group.

Fully 57% of millenials believed abortion was a sin, while only 48% deemed abortion morally acceptable. Millenials’ opposition to abortion has increased by seven percentage points since 2016, according to the study.

In light of the survey’s results, Mohler expressed hope for future pro-life political gains. “There would be considerable support for a Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade. There is clear support for protecting the life of the unborn, which explains overwhelming opposition to abortion on demand.”

 

Cole Mines are coming to an end, Spain is Spending Millions to Preserve Miners’ Livelihood

Cole Mines are coming to an end, Spain is Spending Millions to Preserve Miners’ Livelihood

At the end of this year, more than a thousand miners and subcontractors are expected to lose their jobs after 10 coal mining pits close.

However, thousands of workers won’t remain jobless for long. The Spanish government has worked with labor unions to execute a transition deal that will help coal miners with the progress toward clean energy.

The government will be investing $285 million over the next decade to ensure workers can keep their livelihood.

The unions will cover Spain’s privately owned pits. It will mix early retirement schemes for miners over 48, invoke restorative environmental measures in coal communities and re-skill coal miners into working with safer and greener technologies.

600 workers in Spain’s northern regions — Aragón,  Asturias, and Castilla y León will benefit from social aid during the transition, while 60% of the miners will be able to opt for early retirement.

According to The Guardian, the measure is described as a landmark initiative to benefit the industry’s struggling workers.

“Spain can export this deal as an example of good practice,”  said Monteserrat Mir, the Spanish Confedral secretary for the European Trades Union Congress.

Tersea Ribera, the minister for ecological transition told The Guardian:

“With this agreement, we have solved the first urgent task we had on the table when we came to government.”

“Our aim has been to leave no one behind. We also want to go further, we want to innovate. That is why we offer the drawing up of “Just Transition” contracts, with the aim of helping the regions to consolidate the employment of the future.”

Laura Martin- Murrillo, a government negotiator, described the pact as, “the end of a process of restructuring  many communities has been going on for decades. It had to be done sensitively to bring hope to places that sometimes have lost faith that it could work. A lot of young people abandoned these areas, and they experienced a change in identity.”

“Negotiations with the last few hundred minors employed in publicly owned mines would begin now,” added Martin-Murillo. “We will look at the same transition plans for those workers,” she said.

Overall Monteserrat Mir is confident in the initiative.

“We have shown that it’s possible to follow the Paris agreement without damage (to people’s livelihoods). We don’t need to choose between a job and protecting the environment. It is possible to have both.”