A bill requiring that abortion coverage be removed from all insurance plans and resold solely as abortion insurance has been signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The controversial legislation has become known as the “rape insurance bill” because of its lack of exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. House Bill 214 will effectively force people who might need an abortion to buy a specific extra policy to cover it — assuming that insurance companies even find policies covering the procedure by itself profitable enough to bother offering abortion-only plans.
While the Supreme Court has prevented states from making abortion illegal, states such as Texas have come up with a plethora of creative laws to effectively prevent all but the rich from being able to access abortion services. In 2011, Texas cut family planning funding in the state by 66 percent in an effort to defund Planned Parenthood — a decision that led to the closing of 25 percent of the state’s family planning clinics. In June, Abbott signed a bill that effectively banned all second-trimester abortions and allowed the state to prosecute anyone who helped a woman obtain a second-trimester abortion — whether they were the doctor performing the procedure, or just a friend driving an abortion-seeker to a clinic.
Medicaid in Texas is already banned from covering abortions, and of the estimated 60,000 people who undergo abortions in Texas each year only five percent use insurance to pay for it, according to Daniel Grossman, an abortion provider and researcher with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. In effect, noted Dr. Sealy Massingill, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, the bill’s main consequence would be forcing poor mothers with wanted but unviable pregnancies into giving birth to children that will die shortly after leaving the womb.
“Women who have these conditions and need to have a termination in the hospital, especially if they’re medically ill — these bans make it difficult to access care,” explained Massingill. “To further restrict women who are already in painful and difficult situations, give them one more thing to be stressed about… it’s unconscionable.”
Already, the consequences of Texas’ attack on family planning and abortion services has been felt by women, as maternal mortality rates in the state have doubled.
Read the full story at Broadly.
The dating website OKCupid has banned Chris Cantwell, a white supremacist who was one of the central figures in the Charlottesville white nationalist rallies over the weekend, for life after learning he was a user of the site’s services. In a message posted on Twitter, the dating site said the decision to banish Cantwell took took less than 10 minutes.
The website’s CEO Elie Seidman elaborated on the move in a statement given to Gizmodo. “OkCupid has zero tolerance for racism. We make a lot of [decisions] every day that are tough,” he said. “Banning Christopher Cantwell was not one of them.”
Cantwell was also banished from Facebook earlier this week. He skyrocketed to infamy in recent days after his appearance in a viral video produced by VICE News on the “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville. Cantwell was seen throughout the video ranting and raving with other marchers and spewing racist and violent rhetoric in interviews with VICE reporter Elle Reeve, and showing off his arsenal of high-powered firearms. In one of his more jaw-dropping remarks, he suggested that President Trump isn’t racist enough for him. “I don’t think you could feel about race [as] I do and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl,” he said, referring to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both of whom are Jewish and also White House advisers. As the human fallout from the violent weekend mounted, he turned up in another social media video crying about the fact that he’d heard a warrant for his arrest had been issued.
And really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with this guy. According to The Cut, he’s has a history as a men’s rights activist, before he went full-blown white nationalist. And he used to write dating tips for women on his personal blog, Gizmodo reported. And if you haven’t yet seen the VICE piece, watch it below. Here’s what you’ll be missing out on ladies — unless Cantwell moves his dating profile to this dubious site.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
The mother of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed by an alleged nazi sympathizer when he ran his car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a white supremacist rally on Saturday, has taken President Donald Trump to task for “equating the protesters … with the KKK and the white supremacists.”
Appearing on ABC News’ Good Morning America on Thursday, Susan Bro said she has “no interest” in talking to Trump, despite repeated overtures from his press secretary and other staff.
“It’s not that I’m trying to be calloused, it’s that I have no interest in speaking to politicians just to hear them say, ‘I’m sorry,’” Bro explained. “If I felt like that’s all they wanted to say, that would be different, but I feel like I’m wanted to be used for political agendas and I’m resistant to that.”
On Monday, Bro had put out a statement thanking Trump for “denouncing those who promote violence hatred,” but speaking on GMA, she revealed that she hadn’t had time to hear his statements personally until after the memorial service for her daughter on Wednesday. Upon hearing what Trump had to say, she said, any feelings of goodwill toward the president rapidly disappeared.
“I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters … with the KKK and the white supremacists,” said Bro, almost in disbelief. “You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m not forgiving that.” When asked what message she has for the president, Bro responded, “Think before you speak.”
“I wasn’t there that day,” Bro added, “but I will tell you that I’m pretty sure that’s the only person that ran people down with a car, so that level of violence didn’t take place on both sides, that did not happen.”
Bro also spoke bluntly about why she felt her daughter’s death was getting so much coverage, and shared what steps she planned to take next to “forward Heather’s mission.”
Watch the interview below.
Read the full story at Yahoo News.
Much has been said about the relationship between Brigitte Macron and her husband, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is 25 years younger than she. The president has lashed out at critics of their May-December relationship, declaring those who take issue with it are misogynistic. But so far, the French first lady had been mute on the subject — until now. In a new interview with Elle Magazine, however, the 64-year old former teacher broke her silence, saying that she is reminded of the age difference between herself and her 39-year old husband each morning. “Of course, we have breakfast, me with my wrinkles, him with freshness, but that’s how it is.”
Elaborating on their relationship, she said that she did not recognize the way it was being portrayed in the press. The first lady said that the story of their relationship was very “simple,” and if she hadn’t chosen this path, “I would have missed out on my life.” Macron also spoke out on another controversial issue — the derailed plan to give her an official title as first lady, formally recognizing her public role. It was abandoned last week after more than 300,000 people signed a petition objecting to the plane. “I don’t feel like a first lady,” Macron declared. “That’s the translation of an American expression, and I don’t like anything about it.” She said that she would clarify her job description and public engagements on the French presidential website “so that the French people know exactly what I’m doing. What’s important is that it’s clear.”
Read the full story at The Daily Mail.
The founder and leader of Australia’s anti-immigrant One Party shocked her fellow senators on Thursday when she arrived at the chamber clad in a burka. While members of her own party laughed, other senators could only stare in disbelief as Senator Pauline Hanson removed her head covering and explained that she wanted to ban the burka from Australia.
The One Nation party founded by Hanson, who last year claimed that Australia was “in danger of being swamped by Muslims,” has been listed as a threat to religious freedom in a recent report from the Trump administration. The report specifically cited Hanson’s comments on Muslims, as well as a party platform that includes “ceasing Muslim immigration, holding a royal commission on Islam, halting construction of mosques, installing surveillance cameras in mosques, banning wearing of the burka and niqab in public places, and prohibiting members of parliament from being sworn in under the Quran.”
Outside of her own party, senators immediately denounced Hanson’s stunt for mocking the religious beliefs of Muslims.
“To ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do, and I would ask you to reflect on what you have done,” said Attorney General George Brandis, a member of the conservative liberal party, drawing a standing ovation from one side of the assembly.
Hanson, however, refused to back down.
Watch Brandis’ full comments below.
Read the full story at The New York Times.