Hong Kong (AFP) - Save for an absence of gawping crowds, life for the penguins of Hong Kong's Ocean Park has been much the same during the coronavirus pandemic -- but their carers have worked long shifts to keep the monochrome troupe healthy.Piles of fresh snow have been laid out as some 100 penguins excitedly gather for the mid-morning feeding session.Usually, this daily ritual at the South Pole Spectacular would be a major draw. But the park is still shut because of the coronavirus outbreak."If the guests are here, certainly they would be more interactive with the guests through the window, ...
Looming Texas law would allow anti-choice 'vigilantes' to sue anyone who 'aids or abets' an abortion
As part of an unprecedented wave of recent GOP attacks on reproductive rights across the United States, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a bill to not only outlaw ending a pregnancy as early as six weeks, but also allow anti-choice "vigilantes" to sue anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion that violates state law.
Texas' Republican-controlled state Legislature on Thursday gave final approval to Senate Bill 8, which Abbott celebrated on Twitter. It is yet another so-called "fetal heartbeat" measure, which medical experts say is a scientifically misleading phrase. If signed into law, it would ban abortions before many people know they are pregnant.
"Republicans in the Texas Legislature have pushed extreme bills to ban abortion and incentivize people to sue healthcare providers and anyone else who assists a pregnant person seeking abortion care."
—Ilyse Hogue, NARAL
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), noted in a statement that "this bill essentially opens the floodgates to allow anyone who is hostile to abortion to sue doctors and clinics, consuming their resources and forcing them to shut down."
Specifically, the bill would enable "any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity," to file a civil lawsuit against anyone who performs an abortion that is illegal in Texas or "knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise... regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion" violates state law.
Currently, abortions are illegal in Texas after 20 weeks, with exceptions when a patient's life is in danger or severe fetal abnormalities have been detected. Though the pending law wouldn't punish patients who get abortions, anyone successfully sued under it could be forced to pay a minimum of $10,000 in "statutory damages."
"It's unprecedented, there's no question," Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health, which operates four clinics in the state, told The Daily Beast. "The idea that just anybody should be able to police a highly trained physician and their staff—that any Joe on the street can make that claim—is just totally shocking."
Reproductive rights advocates in Texas and nationwide also pointed out that the Texas bill is just the latest extreme measure proposed or enacted this year with the aim of giving the right-wing majority U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion.
"With their lack of power at the federal level, anti-choice lawmakers across the country are ramping up their attacks on reproductive freedom at the state level and cruelty appears to be the point," declared NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue.
"Instead of focusing on delivering Texans much-needed relief following the Covid-19 pandemic and unprecedented power outages," Hogue continued, "Republicans in the Texas Legislature have pushed extreme bills to ban abortion and incentivize people to sue healthcare providers and anyone else who assists a pregnant person seeking abortion care."
"There's no low these legislators won't sink to in their efforts to gut Roe v. Wade and push abortion care as far out of reach as possible—regardless of the damage inflicted on the lives, health, and well-being of Texas women and families," she added.
CRR, in its statement, highlighted various other abortion restrictions that Texas legislators are considering:
- Create a database of people who have had abortions;
- Limit medication abortion to 49 days of pregnancy (before some people know they're pregnant);
- Create a "trigger ban" intended to ban abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade is overturned;
- Prohibit abortion based on a patient's reason for seeking it, such as a Down syndrome diagnosis; and
- Require Texans to carry non-viable pregnancies to term.
"Every year, Texas lawmakers pass laws that make it harder for our patients to access abortion care, and harder for us to provide it," Hagstrom Miller said in a statement. "They are determined to legislate abortion out of existence."
"We see firsthand that Black and brown communities are hit the hardest by these oppressive laws and we know these laws do not reflect the values Texans hold," she added. "Our clinics are open, and we are committed to providing compassionate, professional abortion care in Texas."
Anticipating Abbott's signature, Northup of CRR vowed that "we will pursue all legal options to prevent this law from taking effect."
With 2021 on track to be "the most damaging anti-abortion state legislative session in a decade—and perhaps ever," according to an April analysis from the Guttmacher Institute, progressive activists and lawmakers have ramped up calls to #ReimagineRoe, treating it as a floor rather than a ceiling for reproductive rights and healthcare.
According to a report from MarketWatch, officials in New York City are looking for ways to boot the Trump family out of its contract to run a golf course in the Bronx under the belief the family's name has become even more toxic after the Jan 6th Capitol insurrection.
The hold-up, the report states, is the $30 million payout Eric Trump is demanding and a possible legal battle over the contract.
According to the report, "Experts who have reviewed the city's 566-page contract with the ex-president say kicking him off the course may not be so easy," adding the negotiations, "could turn into a potentially costly legal battle dragging on for years."
Asked for the legal reasoning for the ouster, NYC officials explained, "Trump's actions leading up to the riot caused a 'plain and irrefutable' breach of the contract and that the Trump Organization's last day running the course will be Nov. 14."
Public contract expert John Ray said the Trump's may have the upper hand, stating, "They can't throw him out so easily."
The report adds, "The Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots, with the PGA of America canceling a tournament at one of his New Jersey courses, banks refusing to lend to him and brokers refusing to help find companies to fill retail and office space in his buildings. The hits come as prosecutors pore over his tax returns and big debts loom."
"But Trump likes a good fight. And anyone doubting that he can't emerge victorious when he seems washed up should talk to junk bond investors and shareholders in his Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos, who lost hundreds of millions as he drove them into bankruptcy several times starting in the early 1990s and yet managed to pull out an estimated $80 million for himself," Marketwatch added.
Meghan McCain rages at Marjorie Greene for making Republicans look like ‘we’re psychotic barbarians’
The View's Meghan McCain was not happy to see the latest video of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) harassing a political opponent.
Reacting to a newly unearthed video from 2019 in which Greene is shown stalking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) at her office, McCain wrote on Twitter that the QAnon-loving freshman Georgia lawmaker was making all Republicans look bad with her insane attention-seeking antics.
"You're behaving like an animal -- harassing AOC like this only gives Democrats what they want which is to paint all of us like we're psychotic barbarians!" McCain wrote. "Aside from the fact that this is just abusive and abhorrent behavior from anyone, let alone a sitting member of Congress."
Ocasio-Cortez on Friday shamed House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for not doing more to discipline Greene, after noting that he's disciplined lawmakers such as Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Justin Amash (R-MI) for speaking out against former President Donald Trump.
"The fact that Kevin McCarthy, the House GOP leader, stripped Justin Amash of all committee seats for criticizing Trump, but has worked to protect this person from consequences (including pretending he doesn't see it) tells you this is happening with the support of GOP leadership," she wrote.
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