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#StopTheBans: Nationwide protests scheduled to halt wave of GOP attacks on abortion rights

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Supporters of reproductive rights are fighting back against Republican politicians’ latest wave of attacks on abortion rights by organizing nationwide protests and boycotts of states that have passed restrictive laws to challenge the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling.

Just days after the GOP governors of Alabama and Georgia signed off on “atrocious” abortion bans—and as Missouri’s Republican-controlled legislature sent a similar bill to that state’s governor Friday—a coalition of reproductive justice, women’s rights, and progressive groups announced #StopTheBans protests planned for next Tuesday.

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“Across the country, we are seeing a new wave of extreme bans on abortion, stripping away reproductive freedom, and representing an all-out assault on abortion access,” says the coalition’s website. “This is Trump’s anti-choice movement… and it’s terrifying, particularly for women of color and low-income women who are most affected by these bans.”

The website promises, in response to the recent anti-choice measures, “we will show up to speak out and fight back against this unconstitutional attempt to gut Roe and punish women. Politicians shouldn’t be making decisions best left to women, their families, and their doctors.”

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Organizers of the #StopTheBans protests include the ACLU, All* Above All Action Fund, EMILY’s List, Indivisible, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, UltraViolet, and Women’s March.

The state-level anti-choice laws have sparked national outrage in large part because of the potential consequences for reproductive rights throughout the United States.

“The politicians behind these laws have one very specific end goal in mind: overturning Roe v. Wade,” MoveOn explained in an email to members Friday. “They all know that these laws will never go into effect as they are written; their express goal is for them to be challenged in the courts, land in the conservative-held Supreme Court, and serve as the catalyst for a complete ban on abortions in America.”

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In addition to the protests scheduled for next week, there have been calls for travelers and filmmakers to pressure the state lawmakers to reconsider recently approved abortion bans through boycotts.

As the #BoycottAlabama hashtag took off on social media Thursday, Reuters reported:

A day after the southern state passed the country’s most restrictive abortion law, Maryland’s Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot said he would advise his state’s $52 billion pension fund to divest from Alabama, and urged other states to follow suit.

Colorado’s Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold called for a boycott of Alabama and urged the Election Center, an organization that trains election officials from across the country, to move out of the state.

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“Moves to boycott Alabama,” Reuters noted, “came after Hollywood stars like Alyssa Milano called on the media industry to pull out of neighboring Georgia, a hub for film and television production, after it passed a strict abortion law last week.”

Actor Jason Bateman, who is on two television shows that film in Georgia, told The Hollywood Reporter Thursday, “If the ‘heartbeat bill’ makes it through the court system, I will not work in Georgia, or any other state, that is so disgracefully at odds with women’s rights.”

Some progressives who oppose anti-choice laws, however, are also critical of the boycott calls—including Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who narrowly lost the Georgia gubernatorial race to Republican Brian Kemp last year.

“While I support those who want to live their values by not bringing their resources here, I do not want to harm the citizens of Georgia who are doing this work,” Abrams said on MSNBC Thursday.

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While the potential consequences of the abortion bans and the protests against them are national in scale, the response has been especially intense among those who live in affected states.

After Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed the state’s new abortion ban earlier this week, teenager Jocelyn Wright launched a petition—Youth Against the Alabama Human Life Protection Act—on Change.org. Wright is urging fellow young people to speak out against the law. In a statement provided to Common Dreams, she said:

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I created this because I was appalled by Kate Ivey’s decision to completely disregard women’s constitutional right to safe abortions. I was even more disturbed by the fact that rape and incest victims are not exempted from the total-abortion ban. For me, it is baffling that a doctor carrying out an abortion (which every woman in the U.S. should legally be able to choose as an option themselves) now carries the same punishment as someone guilty of murder, rape, and other violent/serious crimes. Ivey is abusing her powers in a blatant fashion that completely goes against American ideals.

Though Wright’s petition focuses on Alabama, her message about the state’s law applies to bans in other states, too.

“Our government is supposed to be a champion of our rights and a tool for progress,” she concluded, “not a weapon to attack the very people who elect them.”

 

 


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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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Trump has committed at least 11 disgraceful acts just since April: conservative

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On Saturday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot outlined all of the chaos President Donald Trump has caused just in the last three months — arguing that "he has disgraced the nation’s highest office as no previous occupant has come close to doing."

"Think about all that has happened since April 5," wrote Boot. "That was before security forces attacked peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so that Trump could stage a bizarre photo-op. Before he pushed to send the armed forces into the streets. Before he embraced 'white power' and called Black Lives Matter 'a symbol of hate.' Before he vowed to veto the defense authorization bill to prevent the renaming of military bases named after Confederate generals. Before he used the novel coronavirus as an excuse to shut down immigration and threatened to revoke the visas of college students unable to attend classes in the fall."

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