Justice & Civil Liberties

Issues ››› Justice & Civil Liberties
  • Houston Press: “Why The Dropped Charges Against The Anti-Abortion Activists Is Not A ‘Vindication’” Of Their Claims

    CMP’s Indictment For Actions Taken During Its Campaign Against Planned Parenthood Was Dismissed On A Technicality

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In January, a grand jury in Harris County, TX, indicted Center for Medical Progress (CMP) founder David Daleiden and associate Sandra Merritt on a felony count for “tampering with a governmental record” as well as on a separate misdemeanor charge for “illegally offer[ing] to purchase human organs.”

    Daleiden and Merritt were accused of using fake California driver’s licenses in order to gain access to a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Houston. They used the access to secretly film inside and later release a deceptively edited video alleging Planned Parenthood employees were involved in the illegal sale of donated fetal tissue. A judge dismissed the misdemeanor charge in June on a technicality regarding “language left out of the original indictment.” The judge wrote that the indictment “does not include both that Daleiden intended to buy, sell or acquire human organs in violation of the law, and that he isn’t subject to a legal exception that allows medical entities to recoup expenses for obtaining or transporting organs.”

    On July 26, prosecutors moved to drop the felony counts against Daleiden and Merritt, citing the “limits” to what evidence a grand jury can investigate after being granted an extension order.

    The Houston Press’ Meagan Flynn reports in an article headlined "Why The Dropped Charges Against The Anti-Abortion Activists Is Not A 'Vindication'" that the case was not dismissed because of arguments about Daleiden’s “First Amendment” rights, as he has proclaimed, but rather on narrow, and somewhat unusual, technical grounds. From the Houston Press (emphasis original):

    Almost immediately after prosecutors decided, abruptly, to drop charges against the anti-abortion activists who infiltrated a Planned Parenthood facility in Houston using fake IDs, conservatives pro-lifers were calling it a "vindication." Even though the charges were dropped because of technicalities.

    […]

    When a Harris County grand jury investigated the case, it cleared Planned Parenthood entirely and instead indicted Daleiden and Merritt in January for their shady tactics, prompting outrage from conservatives across the country. The Center For Medical Progress, the group the activists really worked for, said in a statement: "The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press."

    When the Harris County District Attorney's Office let them off the hook not because of the merits of the case, but because of technical procedural issues, supporters of Merritt and Daleiden considered it a validation of their defense. After the hearing, Daleiden told reporters, "I'm glad the First Amendment rights of all citizen journalists have been vindicated today." (To be clear, all journalists learn in J-school 101 that using fake IDs to "go undercover" will land you jail time, not a Pulitzer, which we discussed with a law professor in January.)

    Melissa Hamilton, a visiting criminal law scholar at the University of Houston Law School, said that this case "isn't a vindication for anybody." And, she said, what's strange about this entire case is that the technicalities used to drop both Daleiden's solicitation of the sale of fetal tissue charge and the tampering with government records charges are rarely ever seen. "Cases are dropped all the time for procedural issues—but not these," she said.

     
  • Four Times Media Highlighted The Importance Of Repealing The Hyde Amendment

    The Hyde Amendment Has Long Stymied Abortion Access -- And Media Are Taking Note That It’s Time For A Change

    ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    During its national convention, the Democratic Party adopted a platform explicitly calling for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment -- a long-standing budgetary rider blocking the use of federal Medicaid funds to cover abortion care except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. Here are four times media highlighted the importance of repealing the Hyde Amendment and removing economic barriers to abortion access.

  • NRA's New Testimonial For Trump Features Man Who Promoted Sandy Hook Conspiracy

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    A testimonial video for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released by the National Rifle Association prominently features a man who posted online content suggesting that some Sandy Hook Elementary School parents were actually actors.

    NRA News, the NRA’s media arm, published a nearly eight-minute testimonial in support of Trump on July 25. The NRA endorsed Trump on May 20 during its annual meeting in Louisville, KY.

    The testimonial echoes claims made at the annual meeting, focusing on the false claim that Hillary Clinton would abolish the Second Amendment as president. The testimonial also features video footage of terrorist attacks, including the recent attack in Nice, France, that left 84 people dead.

    Throughout the testimonial, the NRA presents interviews of people attending the NRA annual meeting expressing support for Trump. One individual identified by the NRA as Vince Resor is featured five times in the video.

    Resor first comments on gun-free zones (“Gun-free zones have cost us a lot of lives and it’s time to put an end to that”) and the future of the Supreme Court (“America won’t be America. The Supreme Court can make or break the country for the next generation”) before offering words of encouragement for Trump.

    Resor says that he is “excited” about Trump, that “he is right for the country at this time,” and “You either vote for Trump or you vote for a dim future for all Americans, and your kids, and generations to come.”

    The NRA video gives Resor the last word, with his pitch closing out the testimonial: “Keep your foot on the gas, Donald Trump. This is no time to let up. We’re sliding down the slippery slope and it’s time to put the hammer down and get the job done.”

     

    On his public Facebook page, Resor suggested that parents of two children who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of a 2012 mass shooting, are actually actors. Sharing a false report from a conspiracy website about the parents of two Sandy Hook students, Resor wrote weeks after the shooting, “What is amazing here is not how despicable this is, but how unremarkable it is to learn that the mainstream media deceives us with propaganda to advance their cause. Disgusting.”

    He also referenced the same conspiracy in April 2013, writing, “Now are these the real Newtown parents or the actors from Florida?”

    The claim that certain people who made media appearances or appeared in news footage following the Sandy Hook mass shooting were actually “crisis actors” is a central tenet to the conspiracy theory that the shooting was a hoax.

    Other conspiracies appear on Resor’s page, including the claim that President Obama is a Muslim:

    Resor also operates a blog where he wrote that he is “all for racial profiling” and “and any other method that helps law enforcement civil servants rid us of the criminal element fouling our society,” arguing, “If you wear a towel around your head, you get searched. If your crack is exposed because your pants are too low, you get searched.”

  • CNN Reports First High-Level Executive Leaves Fox News Only Days After Sexual Harassment Investigation Forced Out Roger Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    CNN's Dylan Byers reports that former Fox News Executive Vice President Michael Clemente has left the network "days after Roger Ailes' departure from Fox News.”

    CNN reported that Clemente’s departure “was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes,” which continues to plague the network, with new reports that sexual harassment may be widespread at Fox. Clemente’s number two, Peter Boyer, also left the network. CNN noted that Clemente "showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal”:

    Michael Clemente, a longtime executive vice president of News at Fox who was effectively demoted earlier this year, has left the network, spokespeople confirmed. Peter Boyer, a former New Yorker writer who recently served as Clemente's number two, has also left.

    Clemente's departure, first reported by TVNewser, was approved by 21st Century Fox co-chairman Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Network insiders say the move was unrelated to the recent sexual harassment allegations surrounding Ailes, though it's also true that Clemente showed no signs of leaving the network prior to the scandal.

    Clemente's exit from Fox follows reports from New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman that Fox News executives had helped Ailes "cover up" sexual harassment allegations, as well as Good Morning America's report that there was a "culture inside Fox News" of sexual harassment.

  • LA Times Editorial Board Joins Critics Of GOP Attack On Abortion Providers

    LA Times: Select Panel’s Interim Report is “Long on Innuendo but Remarkably Short on Revelation”

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    On July 14, the Republican members of Congress’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released an interim report of its ongoing investigation of abortion providers and medical researchers, which, they allege, were involved in the sale of donated fetal tissue.

    In a July 25 editorial, the Los Angeles Times editorial board criticized the select panel’s interim report and called for the panel to be disbanded based on the complete lack of evidence the document contained. As the editorial board wrote, despite “months of investigation and subpoenas for staggering amounts of records … the chairman and Republican members of the panel released an 88-page interim report this month that is long on innuendo but remarkably short on revelations.”

    The select panel was formed in October 2015 after the anti-choice group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released a series of deceptively edited videos targeting Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue procurement companies. In the past year, CMP’s deceptive videos have been consistently debunked while multiple state investigations have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, CMP and its founder David Daleiden have been indicted for fraud by a grand jury in Houston, TX, have been subject to several lawsuits, and have had their work soundly rejected by multiple judges and journalists.

    Undeterred, Republican members of the select panel have sourced numerous documents from CMP’s website and videos to use as “evidence” in their ongoing campaign against Planned Parenthood. Despite calls by congressional Democrats and 50 organizations to disband the panel, House Speaker Paul Ryan has reiterated his support for its work. Furthermore, the House Administration Committee has also approved supplemental funding for the panel’s continued operation.

    Although the select panel’s interim report made a variety of allegations against Planned Parenthood, tissue procurement firms, and universities engaged in medical research, the Los Angeles Times noted that the panel “has yet to find any proof that anyone is selling or buying fetal tissue.” In fact, as the editorial board explained: “One of the panel’s main findings” -- concerning allegations against the University of New Mexico (UNM) -- “is actually just speculation.”

    Prior to their release of the interim report, select panel Republicans sent a letter to the New Mexico attorney general arguing that UNM was improperly contracting with a nearby abortion clinic, Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO). In an accompanying press release, select panel Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) accused UNM of having a “symbiotic relationship” with SWWO that was in violation of federal and state law. In reality, the Times explained, UNM “has categorically denied both allegations” and also “contends that the panel is misreading state law.”

    In another section of the report, the panel’s Republican members recounted their recommendation to the Department of Health and Human Services that the tissue procurement company StemExpress be investigated for violating federal patient privacy laws. The panel alleged that StemExpress employees placed in abortion clinics were allowed too much access to patients’ private medical information in order to assess candidates for potential fetal tissue donation.

    As the Times noted, however, this allegation, too, was unproven. Quoting a lawyer for StemExpress, the editorial board explained that StemExpress did not violate any privacy laws because “its technicians did not review medical files,” and “the panel would have known this had it interviewed any of the witnesses ‘repeatedly offered by StemExpress.’”

    Since the select panel’s inception, media have criticized its actions as a politically motivated “witch hunt” against abortion providers and medical researchers. The Times endorsed this critique and added that the panel’s Republican members have “made no secret of their mission” to advance an anti-choice agenda, regardless of its veracity:

    Having found no smoking guns in the University of New Mexico and StemExpress cases, the panel has passed its allegations to other authorities to settle while it continues to search for criminality. Beyond that, the report does little more than serve the panel’s antiabortion narrative in which clinics are desperate to get more business, fetal tissue companies are intent on getting more product, and the technicians who collect these specimens send out emails blithely discussing fetal organs and limbs. Even if this portrait were accurate — and the panel offers little evidence to back that up — it establishes no wrongdoing.

    Even if the panel’s allegations are baseless, there are still costs associated with attacks on fetal tissue research. Since the start of CMP’s smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, there has been a “chilling effect” on fetal tissue donation and research. As the Times editorial board wrote, “The real danger here is that the panel’s work will chill the activities of fetal tissue suppliers and the researchers who use it to study retinal degeneration, fetal development, the Zika virus and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

  • Report: Sexual Harassment At Fox News Goes Way Beyond Roger Ailes

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Following the ousting of former Fox CEO Roger Ailes amid allegations that he sexually harassed former network anchor Gretchen Carlson, The New York Times reported that a culture of sexual harassment and intimidation in Fox News may extend beyond Ailes. According to the Times, interviews with current and former Fox News employees revealed “instances of harassment and intimidation that went beyond Mr. Ailes and suggested a broader problem in the workplace.”

    On July 21, Fox News’ parent company announced that Ailes would be resigning his position at Fox News but would receive $60 million and continue to work “as a consultant” with 21st Century Fox. Ailes’ ousting from the company follows a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson. According to The Washington Post, 25 women have come forward to make similar harassment claims against Ailes.

    The New York Times reported on July 23 that Fox News may have “a broader problem in the workplace,” that extends beyond Ailes after at least “a dozen women” told the Times that “they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors.” From the Times’ report:

    The investigation by Fox News’s parent company, 21st Century Fox, focused narrowly on Mr. Ailes. But in interviews with The New York Times, current and former employees described instances of harassment and intimidation that went beyond Mr. Ailes and suggested a broader problem in the workplace.

    The Times spoke with about a dozen women who said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment or intimidation at Fox News or the Fox Business Network, and half a dozen more who said they had witnessed it. Two of them cited Mr. Ailes and the rest cited other supervisors. With the exception of Ms. Bakhtiar, they all spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing embarrassment and fear of retribution. Most continue to work in television and worry that speaking out could damage their careers.

    They told of strikingly similar experiences at Fox News. Several said that inappropriate comments about a woman’s appearance and sex life were frequent. Managers tried to set up their employees on dates with superiors.

    [...]

    The women interviewed by The Times described similarly troubling experiences at Fox News and the Fox Business Network, a sprawling operation with about 2,000 employees on several floors of News Corporation’s headquarters on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

    The networks were run with an iron fist by Mr. Ailes, the founding chairman and a former Republican strategist, who established the channels as a lucrative profit center and an influential voice in conservative politics.

    [...]

    It is difficult to know exactly how much Mr. Ailes set the tone. The investigation into his conduct revealed findings troubling enough to compel 21st Century Fox executives to move quickly and arrange his exit. Beyond inappropriate language, Mr. Ailes was also accused by employees of kissing and intimate physical contact, according to three people briefed on the investigation, and of making propositions that included quid pro quo arrangements.

    [...]

    Female staff members told of problems with other supervisors as well. One current employee said that she was with a male supervisor in a closed-door, one-on-one meeting in 2009 when she asked to work on an assignment. He turned to her and said, “Sure,” then conditioned it on oral sex. The woman said she laughed it off, thinking that she would face retaliation and be demoted if she told him that the comment was inappropriate.

  • Aided By Right-Wing Media, Anti-Choice Groups Are Hijacking Black Lives Matter For Their Own Agenda

    How "#UnbornLivesMatter" Ignores Communities That Lack Reproductive Health Care Access

    Blog ››› ››› SHARON KANN

    Following the shooting deaths of two black men -- Alton Sterling and Philando Castile -- and the targeting of police officers in several U.S. cities, anti-choice groups have attempted to hijack the vocabulary of Black Lives Matter to attack access to reproductive care.

    Since the movement’s inception, the phrase “black lives matter” has been a grass-roots response to issues of race, policing, and structural violence against non-white bodies. In reaction, anti-choice groups have attempted to co-opt Black Lives Matter activists’ rhetoric by promoting their own phrase, #UnbornLivesMatter, to spread misinformation about abortion and its accessibility for women of color.

    Salon’s Amanda Marcotte described the discrepancies between those on social media “talking about the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile” and those tweeting with the hashtag #UnbornLivesMatter, many of which “focused on shaming liberals for believing there are more important things to worry about than women terminating unwanted pregnancies.” Marcotte traced the development of #UnbornLivesMatter and concluded that “while the hashtag surge was organized by a bunch of right wing fringe sorts, the grim fact of the matter is that this undermining, race-baiting language has trickled up to the more mainstream anti-choice movement.”

    Indeed, even before #UnbornLivesMatter’s recent prominence, anti-choice groups have long alleged that higher abortion rates among black women reflect an attempt by Planned Parenthood to explicitly target black communities.

    Clinic escort Pearl Brady told Vox that protesters “often target young women of color,” and patient advocate Amanda Patton said they shout things like: “‘Black babies’ lives matter!’” In a longer essay, clinic escort Lauren Rankin described the moment when two regular clinic protestors began using the language of Black Lives Matter to harass patients:

    But about a month ago, something changed. Two of our regular protesters—both men, neither of whom are Black—turned up at the clinic, megaphone, Bible, and camera in tow. Nothing unusual about that. But from the back of their crossover vehicle, they pulled out two new signs, both featuring a Black infant. The signs read:

    “Black life matters.”

    “Hands Up, Don’t Abort!”

    I felt paralyzed for a moment, genuinely stunned. My mind raced. Did they really just go there?

    [...]

    These two men have spent the better part of the last two years of their lives screaming at women who enter an abortion clinic. They and their hate-group (and I use that phrase deliberately) have filmed patients and companions as they enter the clinic, without their consent, and plastered those videos across the internet. These men associate with known anti-abortion terrorists, who have threatened violence against abortion providers.

    And yet, they feel perfectly comfortable appropriating a grassroots, progressive movement for racial justice in order to further shame Black patients and their partners. These men parade these signs specifically to target and harm Black women who have abortions. These men are accusing Black women who have abortions of perpetrating racial genocide, of inflicting systemic violence against their own children.

    These men are despicable, and they’re not alone.

    Right-wing media figures have amplified and repeated claims of a racist rationale behind the provision of access to abortion care. For example, frequent Fox News commentator and former GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told ABC’s Martha Raddatz that Planned Parenthood engages in racist population control by placing “most of their clinics in black neighborhoods.” Beyond this, Carson has also criticized Black Lives Matter for supposedly excluding the black lives “eradicated by abortion.”

    Rush Limbaugh has made similar arguments on numerous occasions, alleging that “Planned Parenthood [is] doing the job the [Klu Klux] Klan could never finish” and that supporters of the reproductive health organization endorse the abortion of “60 percent of black babies.” Limbaugh has even stated that “the original goal of Planned Parenthood was to abortion various minorities out of existence.”

    Right-wing media have also frequently attacked the Black Lives Matter movement itself. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has labeled Black Lives Matter “a hate group” that wants police officers dead. Similarly, Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera referred to Black Lives Matter activists as “a bunch of troublemakers” who were “attracting a lot of attention to themselves.”

    According to a March 2016 fact sheet from the Guttmacher Institute, women of color do experience higher rates of unintended pregnancy and more frequently elect to abort. Think Progress’ Kira Lerner explained that these numbers actually reflect “the difficulties that many women in minority communities face in accessing high-quality contraceptive services and in using their chosen method of birth control consistently and effectively. A similar racial disparity exists for other health measures including rates of diabetes, breast and cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections.”

    Women of color are particularly vulnerable to the loss of a provider safety net when Planned Parenthood clinics are forced out of communities. According to Planned Parenthood’s associate director of global communications, Lori Adelman, “Planned Parenthood is often the primary health care provider for Latinos and African Americans in this country.”

    Black women are among the most adversely affected when access to Planned Parenthood and similar reproductive health care providers is denied. The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda reported that “black women have more than double the unintended pregnancy rate of white women,” which is particularly concerning given “the risk of death from pregnancy complications was nearly three and a half times higher for Black women than for white women.”

    Renee Bracey Sherman wrote after the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby -- which enabled certain classes of employers to deny contraception benefits to their employees -- that because of these higher rates of unintended pregnancy and maternal mortality, “when employers deny access to birth control, they are actually putting Black women’s lives in danger.”

    In June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that Texas’ anti-choice law HB 2 was an “undue burden on abortion access.” In an amicus brief filed during the case, advocates outlined the disparate impact of anti-choice restrictions on women of color. They explained that “African-American women have been denied access to necessary reproductive healthcare services disproportionately” and this has impacted them “in numerous, measurable, and profound ways.”

    Despite this disparity, anti-choice legislators have frequently invoked the language of racial equality to push their own agendas.

    For example, in a speech demanding greater abortion restrictions, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-KS) attacked members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for condoning higher rates of abortion in black communities. He said: “There is no one more hopeless and voiceless than an unborn baby, but [the CBC’s] silence is deafening. I can’t hear them. Where are they standing up for their communities, advocating and fighting for their right to life?”

    In Missouri, Rep. Mike Moon (R-MO) stole language from Black Lives Matter to promote his All Lives Matter Act -- a fetal personhood law which would enforce the scientifically unfounded belief that life begins at conception. Meanwhile, women have already been prosecuted for having miscarriages and stillborn births and for making attempts to self-abort, using laws that make actions taken by a pregnant person on her own body a criminal offense. For women of color, however, such laws also perpetuate harmful racial stereotypes.

    As Christine Assefa wrote for Feminist Wire, Moon’s bill “suggests that the state of Missouri codify into law the assertion that Black women are killing their own children, are incapable of making decisions about their own bodies, and cannot control their sexual desires.” She continued that these codifications “perpetuate historical, violent, and harmful stereotypes of Black women that reveal the deeply-rooted relationship between race and sexual politics."

    Beyond criticizing Moon’s bill, other reproductive justice advocates echoed these concerns about the hijacking of Black Lives Matter rhetoric to attack access to reproductive care.

    Planned Parenthood's director of constituency communications, Alencia Johnson, told Salon, “To appropriate the Black Lives Matter movement in the midst of the brutal tragedies too many in the black community face from state violence is repulsive.”

    Pamela Merritt, a co-director of the direct advocacy group Repoaction, argued that efforts by anti-choice groups to “to appropriate the language of Black Lives Matter are just the latest example of that movement's long history of pandering to their conservative and often racist base by insulting Black women and dismissing Black activism.” She concluded that this was particularly reprehensible when the “same movement is silent when Black children are shot and Black women are raped by police officers.”

    In a July 12 article Think Progress’ Laurel Raymond summarized the concerns of reproductive justice advocates about the rising popularity of phrases like “unborn lives matter”:

    "Black lives matter" provides a resounding answer to an unheard question: In the face of disproportionate policing and black deaths that are often unpunished and ignored, do black lives matter? Yes, they do. When other groups co-opt the phrase, they shift the focus away from this aspect of criminal justice -- and thus deemphasize the bigger problem at hand.

    "Unborn lives matter" goes one step further: not only does it derail that focus, but it also puts the primary blame on black women for choosing to have abortions. Anti-abortion rhetoric focused on black women argues for them to have that control over their bodies taken away from them -- even as black women take to the streets to protest for control of their bodies from the police.

     

  • Fusion Explains How The RNC Platform Would Make Ohio's Abortion Access Problem The Norm

    For Reproductive Rights, “As Ohio Goes, So Goes The Nation”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Since the election of Gov. John Kasich, Ohio has passed a series of particularly restrictive anti-choice laws. Against this backdrop, the Republican National Convention, held in Cleveland, OH, featured a party platform noted for its unprecedented condemnation of reproductive rights.

    In response, Fusion’s Katie McDonough released a video not only explaining Ohio’s history with anti-choice laws, but also demonstrating how the Republican party platform would make these medically unnecessary restrictions the norm across the country. She noted, “With all eyes on the Republican National Convention, abortion opponents are taking their fight to Cleveland.” But according to the women McDonough interviewed, the fight for access to reproductive rights has been underway in Ohio for years.

    As Nancy Starner, the director of development and communication for one of Ohio’s remaining abortion clinics, explained, “Texas gets a lot of the media attention. Meanwhile, Ohio has had the second greatest number of abortion clinics close.”

    Many of these closures can be traced to the election of Gov. Kasich. According to McDonough, since he became governor in 2011, Kasich “has signed more than 17 laws to limit abortion access.”

    In a June 2015 article, Rewire’s Nina Liss-Schultz wrote, “Ohio had 14 abortion clinics in 2013, two years into Kasich's first term. But that summer … Kasich signed a two-year budget bill that included, among other anti-choice measures, stringent new licensing regulations for abortion clinics in the state.” She concluded that since then, over half of Ohio’s clinics had been forced to close.

    Undeterred, in February 2016, Kasich signed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. The bill not only stripped Planned Parenthood of state funding, but it also threatened the funding for any group contracting with, or referring patients to an abortion provider. This means the bill could impact funding for other state health care programs where Planned Parenthood affiliates currently provide the services, even if the referrals are for non-abortion services. Planned Parenthood has since filed a lawsuit against the state.

    According to McDonough, even when women are able to access the state’s remaining clinics, there are still a number of obstacles to obtaining an abortion, including “a mandatory counseling session followed by a 24 hour waiting period, mandatory ultrasounds” and more.

    NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland explained the danger these medically unnecessary restrictions impose. She said: “I was talking to an emergency room physician just a couple months ago, and he’d had a patient who came to his emergency room because she had taken rat poisoning to try to end her pregnancy. Because she couldn’t get past all of these medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion access. That’s not women’s health care.”

    “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,” Copeland warned.

     

     

  • Fox Figures React To Roger Ailes Resignation Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations With “Tears”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following reports that Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes had resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, Fox News figures reacted with disbelief, “tears,” and calling the decision an example of “the grotesque unfairness of life.”

    In a July 21 statement from Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox, it was announced that Ailes “has resigned from his role effective immediately,” and that Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox “Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.” 

    Previously multiple Fox figures came out in support of Ailes and attacked his accuser. Following the news of Ailes’ resignation, Fox personalities responded with support for Ailes: