Connect with us
img-4
1
151
151 - copy
logo-full

us news

Abortion control order comes into force: Widespread protests in Texas

Published

on

The most radical abortion law in the US has gone into effect, despite legal efforts to block it.

A near-total abortion ban in Texas empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates the law, opening the floodgates to harassing and frivolous lawsuits from anti-abortion vigilantes that could eventually shutter most clinics in the state.

“Abortion access will be thrown into absolute chaos,” says Amanda Williams, executive director of the abortion support group the Lilith Fund, a plaintiff in the suit that challenged the law. “Unfortunately, many people who need access the most will slip through the cracks, as we have seen over the years with the relentless attacks here in our state.

“It is unbelievable that Texas politicians have gotten away with this devastating and cruel law that will harm so many.”

Senate Bill 8, ushered through the Republican-dominated Texas legislature and signed into law by the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, in May, bars abortion once embryonic cardiac activity is detected, which is around six weeks, and offers no exceptions for rape or incest. Texas is the first state to ban abortion this early in pregnancy since Roe v Wade, and last-minute efforts to halt it through an appeal to the US supreme court by Tuesday did not succeed.

While a dozen other states have passed similar so-called “heartbeat” bills, they have all been blocked by the courts. The Texas version is novel in that it is intentionally designed to shield government officials from enforcement, and thus make legal challenges more difficult to secure. It instead incentivizes any private citizen in the US to bring civil suit against an abortion provider or anyone who “aids or abets” the procedure.

The law “immediately and catastrophically reduces abortion access in Texas”, say state abortion providers, and will probably force many abortion clinics to ultimately close. It will prevent the majority of Texas women (85%) from accessing abortion care, as most aren’t aware they are pregnant as early as six weeks.

Joe Biden condemned the new law and reaffirmed the White House’s support for abortion rights. “This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v Wade and upheld as a precedent for nearly half a century,” Biden said in the statement.

Planned Parenthood, which operates 11 clinics in the state, and Whole Woman’s Health clinics told the Guardian they would comply with the extreme law despite the fact that it is contrary to their best medical practices. In the days leading up to the law’s enactment, Texas clinics say they have been forced to turn away patients who need abortion care at the law’s cutoff point this week and into the near future.

Some abortion physicians in Texas have opted to discontinue offering services, choosing to forgo the potential risk of frivolous and costly lawsuits. For instance, most of the physicians across the four Whole Woman’s Health clinics in Texas will not continue care to prevent jeopardizing their livelihoods, said the clinic founder, Amy Hagstrom Miller.

“We are all going to comply with the law even though it is unethical, inhumane, and unjust,” Dr Ghazaleh Moayedi, a Texas abortion provider and OB-GYN, said. “It threatens my livelihood and I fully expect to be sued. But my biggest fear is making sure the most vulnerable in my community, the Black and Latinx patients I see, who are already most at risk from logistical and financial barriers, get the care they need.”

The law will force most patients to travel out of state for care, increasing the driving distance to an abortion clinic twentyfold – from an average of 12 miles to 248 miles one-way, nearly 500 miles round-trip, the Guttmacher Institute found. And that is only if patients have the resources to do so, including time off work, ability to pay for the procedure, and in some cases childcare.

Providers and abortion fund support groups – who help finance travel, lodging, and direct service for low-income women through donations – have spent months scrambling to coordinate with out-of-state clinics, including in New Mexico and Colorado, to ensure patients receive timely care when SB8 goes into effect. Last year, the state was offered a glimpse of what would happen if abortion care ceased: when the state barred most abortion procedures amid the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the number of patients who traveled out of state for care jumped nearly 400%.

Many abortion-seeking women are expected to be delayed until later in pregnancy and others will be forced to carry pregnancy to term or try to end their pregnancies without medical oversight, abortion providers caution. As with most abortion restrictions, low-income women and women of color will bear the greatest burden under SB8.

Physicians are not the only ones that could be targeted under SB8: a breathtakingly wide range of people and groups, including clinic nurses, abortion fund workers, domestic violence and rape crisis counselors, or even a family member who offers a car ride to the clinic could now face suit from strangers. Those who sue can collect a minimum of $10,000 if they win, but if providers are legally successful they cannot recoup any legal payment. The law, say providers, will spur abortion “bounty hunters”.

The law’s radical legal provision is the first of its kind in the country.

The state’s major anti-abortion lobby group, Texas Right to Life, have already helped empower anti-abortion activists to enforce the law by creating a website that invites “whistleblowers” to report violations of SB8. (In response, pro-choice advocates have flooded the digital entry forms with satirical information.)

Abortion providers, funds, and clergy members, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against SB8 in July, writing that the law would “create absolute chaos in Texas and irreparably harm Texans in need of abortion services.”

A preliminary injunction hearing was originally set for Monday 30 August in federal court. However, the largely conservative fifth circuit court of appeals cancelled the hearing on Sunday afternoon and denied the plaintiffs’ request to allow the district court to block the law. Providers then appealed to the US supreme court for emergency relief.

But the court failed to act before the law took effect on Wednesday, allowing it to proceed. While the nation’s high court, which now holds a strong anti-choice contingent, plans to consider a Mississippi 15-week ban that could test Roe v Wade during the next term, its lack of action in the Texas case signals the possible early unraveling of Roe.

Texas is already one of the most difficult states in the US in which to access abortion due to a slew of state laws pushed by the Republican-dominated legislature over the past decade, including a 24-hour waiting period, a 20-week abortion ban, restrictions on telemedicine, and a prohibition on private and public insurance. It is home to the highest number of abortion deserts – cities in which an abortion-seeking patient must travel at least 100 miles for care – in the country.

Following the passage of a 2013 multi-part law known as House Bill 2, roughly half of the state’s abortion clinics shuttered – dropping from 40 to less than 20. While the law was eventually struck down by the US supreme court in 2016, many clinics were unable to reopen. Large swaths of the state – including the Panhandle and west Texas – are without an abortion clinic, forcing women to travel great distances for care.

us news

Taliban are carrying out mass executions, says Christian missionary helping Afghans

Published

on

Less than a month after the U.S. troops withdrew troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have started arresting, and in some instances executing, people they perceive as their enemies. Recent photos and video suggest they’re killing as many as 30 to 40 at a time, Christian missionary David Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger officer, said in a media interview.

The way the United States pulled out is “dishonorable, and a horrible breaking of promises … and leaving thousands of people behind that we promised we’d take out with us including American citizens,” Eubank, who is from Free Burma Rangers and provides humanitarian services in war-torn areas, told CBN News.

In some instances, the pull-out has been “cowardly,” he continued, speaking from Tajikistan, which neighbors Afghanistan and where many Afghans are arriving after fleeing the Taliban.

“Taliban are hunting down people right now, trying to get all the names of anyone they perceive as an enemy,” Eubank said, adding that the enemies include “people who work with the U.S. government, people who are with other governments, people who work with non-governmental organizations they don’t agree with.”

Eubank, who is in Tajikistan to help Afghans, also said that “many have been executed. … I’ve seen recent photos of 30 to 40 people [being executed].”

Eubank clarified that he doesn’t know the scale of the killings or the arrests, “but I believe it’s countrywide now.”

The Taliban are allowing American citizens who have identity cards to escape, he continued, adding that “anyone who doesn’t have papers, anyone they perceive as an enemy, they are going to arrest them, and, in many cases, execute them.”

The people in Afghanistan “are in terror,” Eubank added.

According to its website, Free Burma Rangers have helped 1.5 million displaced persons to date who would have otherwise died.

In an interview with The Christian Post last year, Eubank shared: “I am motivated by what Jesus does for me and want to share His love and encourage people to follow Him. We are not to be led by comfort, fear or pride, but go in the love God gives us. We go into areas of direct combat to save lives and share love.”

Following the drawing down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly seized control of much of the country, taking the capital Kabul last month and forcing the government to flee.

The U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern warned last week that as the Taliban is cracking down on protests and journalists, concerns are also being raised among religious minorities of increased oppression and persecution because the Taliban have promised strict enforcement of Sharia law.

Almost all Afghan Christians — estimated to be between 8,000 and 12,000 — are converts from Islam and remain largely closeted and hidden from the public eye due to severe persecution.

“Their status as converts makes Afghan Christians direct targets for persecution by both extremist groups and society in general,” ICC reports. “In Afghanistan, leaving Islam is considered extremely shameful and converts can face dire consequences if their conversion is discovered.”
Sources:Christian Post

Continue Reading

us news

ICC report on religious persecution of Christians in China over the past year

Published

on

International Christian Concern (ICC) has just published a new report on persecution in China. In it, ICC lists and analyzes over 100 incidents of Christian persecution between July 2020 and June 2021, a period marked by a significant campaign by the Chinese government to forcefully convert independent religious organizations into mechanisms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This forceful assimilation—also called Sinicization—has continued to intensify since it was introduced as part of the Four Requirements campaign launched in 2018. Since then, the government has only increased its attempts to use the Church for political purposes. It has gone as far as converting church buildings into propaganda centers and even regulating the content of sermons in order to promote communist party values.

Three-Self churches are part of the legal framework the CCP uses to systemically curb Christianity, including Catholicism. If a church is not registered as a state-sanctioned church, it is violating the law and the CCP can step in at any time to shut it down, prosecute individuals, and put enormous social pressure on attendees. As described in last year’s report, registered churches are at the mercy of laws that were passed entirely in contradiction to the constitution and enforced by multiple departments, bureaus, and agencies using them to suppress house church activity.

A significant trend throughout the past year was church raids. In them, not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and church attendees were often arrested. One example of a church raid was in September 2020, in Sichuan province, when China’s Public Security Bureau of Nanbu deployed over 30 police officers to raid an underground Protestant house church, known as Sola Fide. When police arrived on the scene, they arrested 50 Sola Fide members. Throughout this process, the police tore down crosses and other Christian symbols and destroyed hymnals and Bibles.

With the intensified crackdown against churches, both state-vetted and underground, there is no longer a safe place to be a Christian in China. Almost every province in China has seen an increase in Christian persecution over the last year.

The Religious Affairs Bureau and the CCP have a single goal: to prevent religious influence from threatening their communist control.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “China tightening down on people of faith comes as no surprise to observers. What is concerning is the depth and width of persecution and that it continues to expand. From Xinjiang to Sichuan, from state-sanctioned groups to underground churches, from verbal threats to imprisonment, believers in China are constantly watched and persecuted, as documented in ICC’s latest incident report. The international community should not appease Beijing and let it get away with its blatant disregard for human rights.”

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Enter your email address

Featured

us news17 hours ago

Taliban are carrying out mass executions, says Christian missionary helping Afghans

Less than a month after the U.S. troops withdrew troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have started arresting, and in some...

Media18 hours ago

സി.ബി.എസ്.ഇ പത്ത്, പതിനൊന്ന് ക്ലാസുകളിലെ ഒന്നാം ടേം പരിക്ഷ നവംബറിൽ നടത്തും

തിരുവനന്തപുരം: സി.ബി.എസ്.ഇ പത്ത്, പതിനൊന്ന് ക്ലാസുകളിലെ ഒന്നാം ടേം പരിക്ഷ നവംബറിൽ. മൾട്ടിപ്പിൾ ചോയ്സ് ഒപ്റ്റിക്കൽ മാർക്ക് റെക​ഗ്നിഷൻ (MCQ-OMR) ചോദ്യ പേപ്പറുകൾ ഉപയോഗിച്ചാകും പരീക്ഷ നടത്തുക....

Media18 hours ago

അവധിക്കുപോയ തൊഴിലാളികളെ പിരിച്ചുവിടരുതെന്ന് നിർദേശം

ദുബായ്: അവധിയെടുത്ത് നാട്ടിലേക്ക് പോയ തൊഴിലാളികളെ ജോലിയിൽനിന്ന്‌ പിരിച്ചുവിടരുതെന്ന് ദുബായ് മാനവ വിഭവശേഷി സ്വദേശിവത്‌കരണ മന്ത്രാലയം അറിയിച്ചു. സ്വകാര്യ മേഖലയിൽ സന്തുലിതാവസ്ഥ നിലനിർത്താൻ തൊഴിലാളികളും തൊഴിലുടമകളും പരസ്പരം...

Media18 hours ago

India’s Supreme Court Dismisses False Forced Conversion Charges Against Catholic Priest

India – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), India’s Supreme Court has dismissed charges of forced conversion...

us news19 hours ago

ICC report on religious persecution of Christians in China over the past year

International Christian Concern (ICC) has just published a new report on persecution in China. In it, ICC lists and analyzes...

Media2 days ago

ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് കാലത്തെ സംഗീതം വേണ്ട; ഇന്ത്യന്‍ സൈനിക ബാന്‍ഡുകള്‍ക്ക് ഇനി ഹിന്ദിയിലുള്ള സ്വന്തം ഗാനം

ന്യൂഡൽഹി: സൈനിക-ദേശീയ ആഘോഷങ്ങളുടെ ചടങ്ങുകൾക്കൊടുവിൽ സൈനിക ബാൻഡുകൾക്ക് അവതരിപ്പിക്കാനായി ഇനി പുതിയ ഗാനം. നിലവിൽ ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്ന ബ്രിട്ടീഷ് കാലത്തിൻറെ തുടർച്ചയായ സംഗീതത്തിനു പകരം രാജ്യത്തിൻറെ സ്വന്തം ഗാനം...

Trending