US Judge Blocks Alabama’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a strict abortion ban in Alabama that would punish doctors with up to 99 years in prison for performing the procedure.

The ban was set to go into effect November 15 but US District Judge Myron Thompson granted an injunction pending resolution of a lawsuit that argues the law is unconstitutional.

“The plaintiffs have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim,” Thompson said.

“Enforcement of the ban would yield serious and irreparable harm, violating the right to privacy and preventing women from obtaining abortions in Alabama,” he said.

The law equates abortion to homicide and bans it in nearly all cases, including rape or incest, and at all stages of pregnancy.

The only exceptions under the law would be in cases that present “serious health risks” to the woman or in which a fetus is deemed not to be viable.

Under the law, the penalty for performing an abortion in all other cases is up to 99 years in prison.

Planned Parenthood, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said the law would deny access to abortion for nearly one million women in the southern state.

The ban was passed in May on a party line vote by the Republican-dominated state legislature.

A key objective of its sponsors is to force the issue before the US Supreme Court.

Anti-abortion advocates are banking that the court, with a conservative majority reinforced by two appointments by President Donald Trump, is more likely to overturn its 1973 ruling that legalized abortion throughout the country.

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Vatican Cancels Women’s Match After Anti-Abortion Protest

Solari - Five Things About Real Madrid's New Coach
Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

The Vatican called off a friendly football match involving its new women’s team in Vienna over the weekend after several Austrian players protested the church’s anti-abortion stance.

The game between the Vatican side founded this year and a Vienna outfit was cancelled Saturday when several Austrians lifted their shirts to reveal pro-choice messages painted on their stomachs and backs when the anthems were played before kick-off, media reports said.

“The game was called off because we are here for the sport, and not for political or other messages”, public broadcaster ORF quoted Danilo Zennaro, a representative of the Vatican sports association, as saying.

A player from the Austrian capital’s Mariahilf women’s team said they hadn’t expected the protest action to lead to the game to be scrapped.

The Vatican’s Vienna representative could not immediately be reached on Sunday for comment.

The Vatican women’s team was formed earlier this year, more than three decades after the men’s side.

Austrian media said the Vienna clash was supposed to be the Vatican women’s first international tie.

German Court Fines Two Doctors For ‘Advertising’ Abortion

 

A German court Friday fined two gynaecologists for offering information publicly on how they carry out abortion services, despite the recent easing of a Nazi-era law banning practitioners from advertising of pregnancy terminations.

German law allows abortions but effectively discourages them through various hurdles, including the law in question, article 219a, which dates to May 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler took power in Nazi Germany.

After an uproar over another recent case, the government early this year lifted a blanket ban on publicising abortion services.

Under the eased rules, gynaecologists, hospitals and public health services are allowed to share essential information about where women can terminate unwanted pregnancies.

However, the two gynaecologists identified only as Bettina G. and Verena W. still fell foul of the amended law because they “not only provided information about whether but also about how the termination of pregnancy is carried out,” the Berlin court said.

“Doctors should in principle only indicate that they carry out abortions,” added the court, imposing a fine of 2,000 euros ($2,250) on each gynaecologist.

On their website, the doctors said they offered “medicinal, anaesthesia-free abortion” in a “protected environment”.

Both defendants voiced disappointment at the ruling and said they would mount an appeal.

“It’s so awful, my stomach turned,” said Bettina G.

Germany, despite being a leading voice for women’s rights in the 1970s, imposes tight restrictions on abortion, permitting it only under strictly regulated circumstances.

It is left out of universities’ course books for student doctors and kept unavailable in swathes of the country.

A woman who wants to abort within the first trimester is required to attend a consultation at a registered centre.

The aim of the interview is to “incite the woman to continue the pregnancy,” according to the rules, even if in the end she has the final say.

Excluding special circumstances such as a pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother, or one arising from rape, abortion is not a procedure that is reimbursable by health insurance.

In some regions, including in the predominantly Catholic state of Bavaria, it may be necessary to travel 100 kilometres (60 miles) to find a doctor who performs the procedure.

Germany records an average of 100,000 abortions for 790,000 births, about half the rate of neighbouring France.

US Judge Blocks Mississippi ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban

 

A US federal judge Friday blocked Mississippi’s strict abortion law which would have banned the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy.

The bill banning abortion where a heartbeat is detectable — from six weeks — was passed in March and was due to go into effect on July 1.

“Here we go again. Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability,” district judge Carlton Reeves wrote in his order.

“The parties have been here before. Last spring, plaintiffs successfully challenged Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks. The Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional and permanently enjoined its enforcement. The State responded by passing an even more restrictive bill,” Reeves said.

Last year, the state passed a law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but it was blocked before Reeves ruled in November that it violated women’s rights.

The new “Heartbeat Bill” which was signed into law by state Governor Phil Bryant makes exceptions for medical complications, but not for cases of incest or rape.

Earlier in the week Reeves heard arguments from advocates for Mississippi’s only abortion clinic.

The ban “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortion services until after 6 weeks,” Reeves wrote in his order.

“Allowing the law to take effect would force the clinic to stop providing most abortion care.”

Bryant said he was disappointed at the court ruling.

“As governor I’ve pledged to do all I can to protect life. Time and time again the Legislature and I have done just that,” he said in a statement.

“I will encourage the attorney general to seek immediate review of the preliminary injunction.”

Chipping away at Roe v Wade 

More than a dozen states have adopted laws banning or drastically curtailing access to abortion which was legalized in the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court ruling Roe v Wade.

In Alabama, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday against the southern state’s new near-total ban on abortion.

“This law is blatantly unconstitutional, and the ACLU will not stand by while politicians emboldened by President (Donald) Trump’s anti-abortion agenda exploit our health and our lives for political gain,” said ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project senior staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas.

Earlier this month, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the measure that makes abortion a felony — even in cases of rape or incest — unless the mother’s health is at risk, triggering protests in the state and beyond.

It punishes doctors with up to 99 years in prison for providing the procedure.

The ban is due to take into effect on November 15, and if it goes ahead, Alabama abortion providers “will be forced to stop providing and/or referring abortions,” read the lawsuit filed on their behalf in federal court in the state.

“Enforcement of the ban will thereby inflict immediate and irreparable harm on plaintiffs’ patients by violating their constitutional rights, threatening their health and well-being, and forcing them to continue their pregnancies to term against their will.”

Randall Marshall, executive director of the ACLU’s Alabama chapter, said the lawsuit was intended to “make sure this law never takes effect.”

Several other Republican-led states have passed tough abortion laws they hope will eventually end up before the Supreme Court in hopes it will reverse Roe v Wade.

Conservative states have slowly chipped away at abortion access, starting by imposing strict conditions on facilities that provide the procedure, such as requiring that they be located near a hospital or have operating rooms or halls of a certain size.

In other states, like North Carolina, women can undergo abortion only within 20 weeks of gestation.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law Friday a measure that makes the procedure illegal from eight weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Five states require that women be alerted to links between abortion and breast cancer that have not been proven. And doctors in 13 states must advise women considering abortion that the fetus may feel pain — a scientifically controversial claim.

AFP

Thousands Protest Alabama Abortion Law

Protestors participate in a rally against bans on abortions on May 19, 2019 in Montgomery, Alabama. Demonstrators gathered to protest HB 314, a bill passed by the Alabama Legislature last week making almost all abortion procedures illegal. PHOTO: Julie Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

 

Thousands took to the streets in the southern US state of Alabama on Sunday to rally against the nation’s most restrictive bans on abortions in decades.

Around 500 women’s reproductive rights defenders gathered in state capital Montgomery, while in the cities of Birmingham, Anniston, Huntsville and Mobile around 3,000 more joined in denouncing the “Alabama Human Life Protection Act,” local media reported.

The act, known as HB314, virtually outlaws terminations of pregnancy.

Protesters in Montgomery held up signs reading “her body, her choice” and “we are not ovary-acting.”

A woman wearing beige underwear that made her look naked had a drawing of her reproductive system attached to her abdomen and a banner reading: “More than an incubator.”

Several other women were dressed as characters forced to bear children in the dystopian novel and television series “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

One of them, who gave her name only as Amanda, accused Alabama’s legislators of “trying to imprison women and doctors.”

“Wearing the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ outfit is sending a message that you’re trying to turn us into slaves, reproductive slaves,” the 40-year-old-lawyer told AFP.

“They’re trying to fill prisons, more private prisons so that women will do hard labor after they get convicted of these ‘crimes’ of abortion.”

Last week, Alabama passed a law that prohibits all abortions — even in cases of incest and rape — unless there is a risk of death for the mother.

“Our call center’s been getting hundreds and hundreds of phone calls from concerned citizens asking us what this means,” said Barbara Ann Luttrell, director of communications and marketing for Planned Parenthood Southeast.

Planned Parenthood is not currently providing abortion services in Alabama. “We’ll be having abortion services up and running again as soon as possible,” she said.

There are only three clinics that perform the procedure. None of them responded requests of comments.

The Alabama law is likely to be blocked in state courts before its November launch date but Republican Governor Kay Ivey acknowledged when she signed it that it was part of as a wider Republican offensive to get the issue relitigated on the national stage.

Republican offensive

“We’re going to return to the back alleys. We’re going to return to where women will do abortions to themselves,” 81-year-old Maralyn Mosley told the Montgomery Advertiser.

She had an abortion at 13, after her uncle raped her.

“We will return to the coat hangers and perforated uteruses. We will return to where women will bleed to death,” she warned.

Conservative activists hope to get a Supreme Court decision against the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v Wade that said unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional.

Conservatives are counting on support at the highest court in the land, where liberal justices are in a minority after the arrival of two conservative members appointed by President Donald Trump.

Trump appeared to suggest Alabama lawmakers had gone too far in a series of tweets late Saturday in which he described himself as “strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother.”

He urged the anti-abortion side to “stick together and Win for Life” when it comes to voting in 2020.

While the Alabama measure is seen as particularly draconian, at least 28 US states have introduced more than 300 texts since the start of the year limiting abortion rights, according to activists.

Kentucky and Mississippi have banned abortions as soon as a fetus’s heartbeat is detectable, or around the sixth week of pregnancy. Similar measures are being adopted in Georgia, Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee.

A judge has blocked the implementation of the Kentucky law, while the Mississippi law is set to come into effect in July.

The country’s largest human rights organization, ACLU, has said it will file suit against Alabama’s law as unconstitutional.

HB314 seeks jail terms of between 10 and 99 years for doctors performing terminations, which are counted as homicides. It stipulates no penalty for the mother.

Around two thirds of Americans say abortion should be legal, a Pew Center poll found last year.

AFP

Alabama Senate Passes Toughest U.S. Abortion Ban Bill

 

The Alabama Senate has passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the United States, which places a near-total ban on the termination of pregnancy — even in cases of rape and incest — and could punish doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison.

The text passed by the Republican-led Senate on Tuesday has been sent to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk for signature into law and, if approved, is expected to trigger a legal battle which its supporters hope will reach the Supreme Court.

Under the bill, performing an abortion is a crime that could land doctors who perform it in prison for 10 to 99 years. Abortions would only be legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the fetus has a fatal condition.

The largest human rights defense organization in the United States, the ACLU, promised to file a lawsuit to block its implementation, saying the vote showed “how little they (conservative lawmakers) regard bodily autonomy.”

“This bill punishes victims of rape and incest by further taking away control over their own bodies and forcing them to give birth,” it added.

The National Organization for Women called the bill “unconstitutional” and said its passage would “send women in the state back to the dark days of policymakers having control over their bodies, health, and lives.”

The Republican-led senate approved the measure by 25 votes to six on Tuesday. Governor Ivey has not yet said whether she will sign the bill.

Unlike the doctors carrying out the procedures, women who undergo abortions would not be prosecuted.

Attempts to introduce an amendment providing exceptions for pregnancies conceived due to rape or incest were shut down by the state senate.

“You just raped the state of Alabama yourself,” state senate Democratic leader Bobby Singleton said after senators eliminated the amendment.

“You’re saying to my daughter you don’t matter in the state of Alabama… It’s ok for men to rape you and you’re gonna have his baby if you get pregnant,” he added, his voice sometimes breaking with emotion.

But Alabama Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, who also presides over the state senate, greeted the bill’s passage as a “strong step toward defending the rights of the unborn.”

“With liberal states approving radical late-term and post-birth abortions, Roe must be challenged, and I am proud that Alabama is leading the way,” he added.

‘Heartbeat’ laws

The bill’s backers have expressly said they want to bring the case to the Supreme Court.

Now that the top US court has a conservative majority in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election, some Republicans want to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women’s right to abortion.

The challenge to Roe v. Wade comes as Trump is ramping up for a 2020 re-election campaign with abortion as a hot-button issue.

Several other conservative states are weighing or have recently implemented harsh anti-abortion laws.

The governor of the US state of Georgia last week signed into law a ban on abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat is detected, becoming the sixth US state to outlaw abortion after six weeks of gestation.

Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota have enacted similar laws, while electoral powerhouses Florida and Texas are considering following suit.

All the state bans have either been blocked by a judge or are headed for the courts.

Anti-abortion activists hope the state-by-state legal battles will ensure the so-called “heartbeat” ban is brought before the country’s top court. But Alabama’s new law, which outlaws abortion as soon as the pregnancy is known, goes further still.

States with liberal majorities, however, are seeking safeguards to the right to abortion in their own constitutions.

This year alone, 28 of the 50 US states have introduced more than 300 new rules to limit abortion, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, which defends women’s rights.

Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates said in a statement that it was “a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country.”

“Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote.”

AFP

 

Georgia Passes Bill Ending First-Heartbeat Abortion

 

The governor of the southern US state of Georgia was expected to sign a bill banning abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected after legislators on Friday approved the text which Hollywood celebrities vowed to fight. 

Abortion is one of the most politically divisive issues in the United States and numerous states have tried to limit access to abortions.

Georgia’s lower house approved the “heartbeat bill” which prohibits abortions as soon as the first beats of the fetus are heard from six weeks something that happens when most mothers still don’t know they are pregnant.

“Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, wrote in a statement congratulating legislators.

READ ALSO: Scientists Discover How Mosquitoes Detect Human Sweat

The country’s major human rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union, vowed a legal challenge.

“If Gov. Kemp signs this abortion ban bill into law, the ACLU has one message: we will see you in court,” said Andrea Young, ACLU’s executive director for Georgia.

Thirteen US states have studied or approved versions of the “heartbeat bill” this year.

Although judges in Kentucky and Iowa blocked such laws, the aim of those who promote the legislation is to reach the Supreme Court and reverse the right to abortion at the national level, according to Planned Parenthood, the largest organization supporting abortion rights.

The US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 with its decision in Roe v. Wade.

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has named two justices to the Supreme Court who opposes abortion, leading activists who support abortion rights to fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

Georgia is an important destination for film and television production, but dozens of Hollywood celebrities threatened to take their business elsewhere if the law takes effect.

“We will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women” if the bill is approved, said a letter to lawmakers signed by Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Mia Farrow and others.

AFP

 

US State Passes Bill Banning First-Heartbeat Abortion

A rubber foetus in a plastic bag with the inscription “Abortion stops a beating heart” is pictured at the stand of pro-life organization ProVita at the World Congress of Families (WCF) conference on March 29, 2019, in Verona. STRINGER / AFP

 

The governor of the southern US state of Georgia was expected to sign a bill banning abortion as soon as a heartbeat is detected after legislators on Friday approved the text which Hollywood celebrities vowed to fight.

Abortion is one of the most politically divisive issues in the United States and numerous states have tried to limit access to abortions.

Georgia’s lower house approved the “heartbeat bill” which prohibits abortions as soon as the first beats of the fetus are heard — from six weeks — something that happens when most mothers still don’t know they are pregnant.

“Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, wrote in a statement congratulating legislators.

The country’s major human rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union, vowed a legal challenge.

“If Gov. Kemp signs this abortion ban bill into law, the ACLU has one message: we will see you in court,” said Andrea Young, ACLU’s executive director for Georgia.

Thirteen US states have studied or approved versions of the “heartbeat bill” this year.

Although judges in Kentucky and Iowa blocked such laws, the aim of those who promote the legislation is to reach the Supreme Court and reverse the right to abortion at the national level, according to Planned Parenthood, the largest organization supporting abortion rights.

The US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 with its decision in Roe v. Wade.

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has named two justices to the Supreme Court who oppose abortion, leading activists who support abortion rights to fear that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

Georgia is an important destination for film and television production, but dozens of Hollywood celebrities threatened to take their business elsewhere if the law takes effect.

“We will do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women” if the bill is approved, said a letter to lawmakers signed by Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin, Amy Schumer, Ben Stiller, Sarah Silverman, Mia Farrow and others.

Argentina Senate Votes Against Legalising Abortion

View of the Argentine Senate in Buenos Aires on August 08, 2018, during the start of the debate to decide whether or not to legalize abortion amidst fiercely polarized campaigns for and against the bill. EITAN ABRAMOVICH / AFP

 

Argentina’s senators on Thursday voted against legalizing abortion in the homeland of Pope Francis, dashing the hopes of women’s rights groups after the bill was approved by the legislature’s lower house months earlier.

The vote, with 38 against, 31 in favor and two abstentions, capped a marathon session that began the day before and stretched into the early hours of Thursday.

Fireworks and shouts of joy erupted among anti-abortion activists camped outside Congress, while pro-choice campaigners, many decked in the green scarves that had come to symbolize their movement, were downcast.

Some burnt garbage and wooden pallets and threw stones at riot police, who attempted to disperse them with tear gas and water cannon.

Cabinet chief Marcos Pena ruled out putting the issue to referendum, though, saying the process chosen to decide the issue was “a parliamentatry debate.”

The vote in Argentina followed a referendum in May in Ireland, another traditionally Catholic country, that paved the way to legislate for the termination of fetuses. It also came after months of heated campaigns on the polarizing issue.

The Argentine bill was passed by Congress’s lower house in June by just 129 votes to 125, but was widely expected to fall short of the votes needed to pass in the Senate.

Lawmakers must now wait a year to resubmit the legislation.

“The debate will continue,” said President Mauricio Macri, who praised “a mature parliamentary debate.”

Although pronouncing himself “in favor of life,” Macri had been largely responsible for pushing the bill to a vote in parliament.

He promised to increase sex education in schools and the distribution of contraceptives.

“The problem is there and we have to keep working hard so that all these girls will have the possibility to choose and plan their lives,” he said.

Not giving up 

Miguel Angel Pichetto, an opposition leader in the Senate, said pro-abortion campaigners would not be giving up.

“The future does not belong to the ‘No’ campaigners. Sooner rather than later, women will have the decision they need, sooner rather than later we will win this debate,” he said in his closing speech.

His sentiments were shared by 21-year-old Camila Sforza, who said she remained hopeful despite the setback.

“This is just the beginning — our movement will continue till we get the right to abortion,” she said.

The no vote was also condemned by Amnesty International, which said Argentina had squandered a historic opportunity.

“The Argentine lawmakers chose today to turn their backs on hundreds of thousands of women and girls who have been fighting for their sexual and reproductive rights,” said Mariela Belski, the group’s executive director for Argentina.

She added that the Senate had “therefore decided to agree on a system which forces women, girls and others who can become pregnant to undergo clandestine and unsafe abortions.”

But among anti-abortion activists, the mood was one of jubilation.

“We are happy because it is a celebration of democracy, the triumph of both lives,” said Ayelen Caffarena, echoing the campaign’s slogan, “let’s save both lives”, a reference to the mother as well as the unborn child.

Earlier in the day, scores of buses had brought people from around the country into Buenos Aires for dueling rallies outside Congress.

A partition was set up to keep the green-decked pro-abortion contingent separated from the anti-abortion activists who donned baby blue.

Currently, abortion is allowed in Argentina in only three cases, similar to most of Latin America: rape, a threat to the mother’s life or if the fetus is disabled.

The bill had sought to legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and would have seen Argentina join Uruguay and Cuba as the only countries in Latin America to fully decriminalize abortion.

It is also legal in Mexico City. Only in the Central American trio of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua does it remain totally banned.

Worldwide support 

The prospect of legalization had energized women’s groups and still retains a huge support from citizens.

Rallies took place around the world in front of Argentine diplomatic missions, mainly in support of the bill.

Various charities estimate that 500,000 illegal, secret abortions are carried out every year in Argentina, resulting in around 100 deaths.

Opponents of abortion meanwhile held their own demonstrations.

Priests and nuns were joined by rabbis, imams and members of other Christian churches to oppose the bill.

Before Pena dismissed such a notion, Daniel Lipovetzky, a lawmaker from the ruling party, suggested that the matter might end up being put to a referendum.

“It’s possible that we propose that,” he said.

Ireland ended up overturning its own constitutional ban on abortion through a referendum held in May.

AFP

Abortion Exclusion To US Aid Threatens HIV Battle, Scientists Warn

 

Scientists and activists warned Friday that anti-abortion conditions attached to US aid under the Donald Trump administration threatened programmes to halt the spread of HIV.

Stipulations approved in Washington in May last year deny US aid to organisations which provide abortion information, referrals, or services – even with their own money.

This includes grants from PEPFAR, the programme set up under former president George W Bush in 2003 and now a major funder of HIV testing, counselling and treatment worldwide.

New rules under the policy dubbed “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” denies funding even to organisations that advocate for abortion services, International AIDS Society (IAS) president-elect Anton Pozniak said in Amsterdam.

Formerly known as the Mexico City policy, but commonly called the “global gag rule”, the conditions already applied to family planning clinics in the US.

“Now, under the Trump administration, it applies to almost all US global health bilateral assistance, including PEPFAR,” Pozniak told journalists on the final day of the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam.

“The reach of this policy has been greatly expanded, and has the potential to roll back progress on HIV.”

The provisions mean that clinics which provide services such as HIV testing and family planning, must rescind US funding if they also provide abortion services, counselling or even referrals.

It will be too late

Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research NGO, said the altered policy “will likely affect hundreds of recipients” of US funding.

It is too early to quantify the effects.

“Some of the greatest harms of the global gag rule will not be measurable… until it’s too late to reverse course,” said Chloe Cooney of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Clinics have already started to cut staff, some closing altogether, said Tikhala Itaye of the “Global She Decides Movement”, an activist group for women’s rights.

“Some of the girls accessing family planning services or contraception now cannot have those services,” she said.

Activists at the conference cited the global gag rule as one of many reasons for insisting that the IAS reconsiders its decision to host the next AIDS conference in San Francisco.

“No AIDS conference in Trump’s America,” said a coalition calling itself AIDS 2020 for All.

“The US government bans the entry of sex workers and people who use drugs, has criminalised immigrants and detained activists at airports, has denied HIV care to people in prison and immigrant detention centres,” it charged in a statement.

But Pozniak said the IAS was “committed to moving forward.”

“We’ve had conferences in many places of the world where there are issues,” he said.

Trump To Cut Federal Funds On Abortion

'Shocked' Haiti Calls Trump's Reported Remarks 'Racist'
U.S. President Donald. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images/AFP

 

Anti-abortion activists won a major victory Friday when President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans for a rule that would cut federal funding to hundreds of US clinics providing the service.

“We thank President Trump for taking action to disentangle taxpayers from the abortion business,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group.

Federal funds are already barred from directly financing abortions, but clinics have been able to obtain public money for their other activities, such as consultations, contraception and screenings for sexually transmitted diseases.

The proposed policy “would ensure that taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions,” a White House statement said.

The Health and Human Services Department launched a regulatory process cutting funding for health centers that do not have different locations for their family planning and abortion services.

The Trump administration wants to separate abortion from family planning.

By requiring clinics to have different locations — not just separate finances — between their abortion and non-abortion services creates a new obstacle for them to secure federal funding.

“The administration’s announcement today of a proposed rule on Title X family planning program fulfills President Donald J. Trump’s promise to continue to improve women’s health and ensure that federal funds are not used to fund the abortion industry in violation of the law,” a White House statement read.

It denied reports that the new proposal would include a so-called “gag rule” first implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 prohibiting clinics that receive federal funds from even so much as counselling clients about abortion.

Several steps are still required in the coming months before the change can go into effect.

Democrats and abortion provider Planned Parenthood strongly condemned the decision, casting it as the Republicans’ latest attack on abortion rights.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion throughout the country.

But the US has seen an anti-abortion push since Trump took office in January last year, with his Republican Party that opposes abortion controlling Congress.

“The Trump administration is moving yet again to take away women’s basic health rights,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, also a Democrat, added: “This is an undisguised attempt to shut down Planned Parenthood and it’s shameful.”

About $260 million per year are at play, according to The Washington Post, of which about $50 million to $60 million go to Planned Parenthood, which manages around 600 health centres nationwide that mostly serve low-income women.

AFP

Trump To Protect US Health Workers Who Oppose Abortion

US President Donald Trump    PHOTO: SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

United States officials on Thursday announced the creation of a new office to protect the religious rights of medical providers who refuse to perform procedures they say are against their beliefs, such as abortion.

The office, part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Civil Rights division, is also aimed at supporting health care professionals who oppose procedures such as gender reassignment operations.

President Donald Trump “promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom. That promise is being kept today,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, as he announced the new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.

Groups that support abortion and the rights of sexual minorities fear this could result in discrimination in access to medical treatment.

“No one should be denied health care — including safe, legal abortion — because of their health provider’s beliefs,” said Planned Parenthood, which provides legal abortions.

“Trans people already face obstacles to getting care,” the non-profit group said in a statement.

The new government office was announced on the eve of Friday’s “March for Life,” an annual rally in Washington that attracts abortion opponents from across the country.

Trump will address the marchers via video link, the White House said Wednesday.

The March for Life marks an anniversary which infuriates its participants — the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on “Roe v. Wade,” which legalized abortion across the United States in 1973.

AFP