With New York legalizing gay marriage, more and more children will be exposed to same-sex couples (much to the chagrin of conservatives). Here is great video of one little boy's reaction to seeing his first gay couple -- watch how he figures things out:

 

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New Abortion Guidelines in Peru a Victory for Women and Girls, But More Work Ahead

Peru has finally issued national guidelines recognizing that women in the country have the right to therapeutic abortion, and outlining the Peruvian government's responsibility to secure this access. It is heartening to see such tireless work pay off, but the work isn't over.

In 2007, a 13-year-old Peruvian girl became pregnant as the result of being repeatedly raped by a man in her Lima neighborhood. Scared, ashamed, and desperate, she flung herself off a neighbor’s roof. Doctors examining the girl after the incident concluded that her spine needed to be realigned immediately, but they refused to operate because she was pregnant, despite the fact that therapeutic abortion—defined in Article 119 of the Peruvian penal code as the interruption of a pregnancy to save the life of the pregnant woman or to avoid serious and permanent damage to her health—had been legal in Peru since 1924. The young woman, known by her initials L.C., is a quadriplegic today.

Sadly, such stories are becoming more and more familiar to those of us who follow women’s health and rights issues around the world. When a woman or girl is denied access to abortion, she frequently suffers devastating consequences.

These cases are not just tragic; they are indefensible. Peru has more reported cases of rape and sexual violence than any other country in South America. Eight in ten of these victims are minors. No woman should be turned away from the care she needs, especially when she is raped or faces a pregnancy that threatens her life and her physical, mental, or social health.

Recently, the Peruvian government took a big step forward for L.C. and those like her. After 90 years of having the law on the books, Peru has finally issued national guidelines recognizing that women in in the country have the right to therapeutic abortion, and outlining the Peruvian government’s responsibility to secure this access.

This historic win comes after nearly a decade of pressure from many nongovernmental organizations and advocates, including PROMSEX, a leading Peruvian advocacy organization supported by Planned Parenthood Global. In 2009, the Center for Reproductive Rights and PROMSEX jointly brought L.C.’s case before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), challenging the government’s lack of accountability regarding the provision of legal, therapeutic abortion. CEDAW agreed, declaring that Peru had violated the human rights of L.C. by failing to ensure her access to safe and legal abortion services, and called for reform. Specifically, the committee declared that Peru must amend its law to allow women to obtain an abortion in cases of rape and sexual assault; establish a mechanism to ensure the availability of those abortion services; and guarantee access to abortion services when a woman’s life or health is in danger—circumstances under which abortion has been legal in Peru since 1924.

In addition to bringing the case before the UN, PROMSEX, with support from Planned Parenthood Global, has been working for years in Peru with medical professionals to develop their capacities and knowledge regarding sexual and reproductive health, and to ensure that the personal beliefs of individual health professionals do not impede women’s effective access to reproductive health-care services, including abortion and post-abortion care.

It is heartening to see such tireless work pay off, and for L.C. and the women of Peru to see a measure of justice. The new guidelines are a big step forward. They create an undeniable basis for expanding access to abortion services for Peruvian women. They provide clarity for both women and health-care providers, and get at the importance of taking on a broad interpretation of the right to health in the future, which would have greatly improved L.C.’s outcome.

Despite these gains, much work remains for advocates. The new guidelines include some unnecessary barriers to accessing safe abortion, such as requiring a review by a committee of three physicians. They also fail to address ongoing issues relating to confidentiality. Currently, Peruvian law dictates that health-care providers must report women for the alleged crime of abortion if they suspect one has been attempted. This policy leaves women afraid of going to health facilities, and consequently increases maternal injury and death—especially among poor women. Still, the guidelines show good faith and demonstrate the government’s ongoing commitment to ensure access to abortion and further women’s rights.

Advocates in Peru, across Latin America, and around the world will continue to work toward improved health outcomes for women and girls. The L.C.s of the world have been denied for too long. With this small victory in Peru in hand, we will together march forward to see justice realized for all women and girls.

Image: Government Palace in Lima, Peru // Shutterstock

The post New Abortion Guidelines in Peru a Victory for Women and Girls, But More Work Ahead appeared first on RH Reality Check.


RH Reality Check's picture

New Abortion Guidelines in Peru a Victory for Women and Girls, But More Work Ahead

Peru has finally issued national guidelines recognizing that women in the country have the right to therapeutic abortion, and outlining the Peruvian government's responsibility to secure this access. It is heartening to see such tireless work pay off, but the work isn't over.

In 2007, a 13-year-old Peruvian girl became pregnant as the result of being repeatedly raped by a man in her Lima neighborhood. Scared, ashamed, and desperate, she flung herself off a neighbor’s roof. Doctors examining the girl after the incident concluded that her spine needed to be realigned immediately, but they refused to operate because she was pregnant, despite the fact that therapeutic abortion—defined in Article 119 of the Peruvian penal code as the interruption of a pregnancy to save the life of the pregnant woman or to avoid serious and permanent damage to her health—had been legal in Peru since 1924. The young woman, known by her initials L.C., is a quadriplegic today.

Sadly, such stories are becoming more and more familiar to those of us who follow women’s health and rights issues around the world. When a woman or girl is denied access to abortion, she frequently suffers devastating consequences.

These cases are not just tragic; they are indefensible. Peru has more reported cases of rape and sexual violence than any other country in South America. Eight in ten of these victims are minors. No woman should be turned away from the care she needs, especially when she is raped or faces a pregnancy that threatens her life and her physical, mental, or social health.

Recently, the Peruvian government took a big step forward for L.C. and those like her. After 90 years of having the law on the books, Peru has finally issued national guidelines recognizing that women in in the country have the right to therapeutic abortion, and outlining the Peruvian government’s responsibility to secure this access.

This historic win comes after nearly a decade of pressure from many nongovernmental organizations and advocates, including PROMSEX, a leading Peruvian advocacy organization supported by Planned Parenthood Global. In 2009, the Center for Reproductive Rights and PROMSEX jointly brought L.C.’s case before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), challenging the government’s lack of accountability regarding the provision of legal, therapeutic abortion. CEDAW agreed, declaring that Peru had violated the human rights of L.C. by failing to ensure her access to safe and legal abortion services, and called for reform. Specifically, the committee declared that Peru must amend its law to allow women to obtain an abortion in cases of rape and sexual assault; establish a mechanism to ensure the availability of those abortion services; and guarantee access to abortion services when a woman’s life or health is in danger—circumstances under which abortion has been legal in Peru since 1924.

In addition to bringing the case before the UN, PROMSEX, with support from Planned Parenthood Global, has been working for years in Peru with medical professionals to develop their capacities and knowledge regarding sexual and reproductive health, and to ensure that the personal beliefs of individual health professionals do not impede women’s effective access to reproductive health-care services, including abortion and post-abortion care.

It is heartening to see such tireless work pay off, and for L.C. and the women of Peru to see a measure of justice. The new guidelines are a big step forward. They create an undeniable basis for expanding access to abortion services for Peruvian women. They provide clarity for both women and health-care providers, and get at the importance of taking on a broad interpretation of the right to health in the future, which would have greatly improved L.C.’s outcome.

Despite these gains, much work remains for advocates. The new guidelines include some unnecessary barriers to accessing safe abortion, such as requiring a review by a committee of three physicians. They also fail to address ongoing issues relating to confidentiality. Currently, Peruvian law dictates that health-care providers must report women for the alleged crime of abortion if they suspect one has been attempted. This policy leaves women afraid of going to health facilities, and consequently increases maternal injury and death—especially among poor women. Still, the guidelines show good faith and demonstrate the government’s ongoing commitment to ensure access to abortion and further women’s rights.

Advocates in Peru, across Latin America, and around the world will continue to work toward improved health outcomes for women and girls. The L.C.s of the world have been denied for too long. With this small victory in Peru in hand, we will together march forward to see justice realized for all women and girls.

Image: Government Palace in Lima, Peru // Shutterstock

The post New Abortion Guidelines in Peru a Victory for Women and Girls, But More Work Ahead appeared first on RH Reality Check.


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Two California Universities Move to Drop Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Unless California state officials decide that the move violates state law, starting next year Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University, both Catholic-affiliated schools, will deny faculty, staff, and administrators seeking abortions coverage of the procedure.

Starting next year, at least two universities in California will deny faculty, staff, and administrators seeking abortions coverage of the procedure, unless California state officials decide that the move violates state law.

An investigation by California Lawyer magazine found that the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), which is tasked in part with reviewing employee health insurance policies, approved at least two insurance policies that did not provide coverage for certain abortions.

Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University, both Catholic-affiliated schools, have announced they will only offer those policies, one from Anthem Blue Cross and another from Kaiser Permanente, that include limited abortion coverage.

At issue is whether so-called elective abortion can be distinguished from “medically necessary” abortions, a term used to describe abortions performed in pregnancies that are the result of assault or incest, or in cases when the mother’s life is at risk.

Last October, Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh sent a letter to faculty saying that the school’s “core commitment as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the University’s health plans,” and said the university plan would only cover “therapeutic abortions.”

Loyola has already instituted the changes to its plan, which were accepted by the trustees of the college last October. Santa Clara’s new policy won’t take effect until the start of 2015.

California has long had abortion protections on the books. In 1967, the state legislature enacted the Therapeutic Abortion Act, a law ensuring the rights of women to get an abortion within 20 weeks of the pregnancy when the health of the mother is at risk. Five years later, the California Supreme Court expanded the Therapeutic Abortion Act by removing the pieces of the law that restricted abortions to cases of maternal risk, leaving only the provision that an abortion be performed by a doctor in a hospital.

In 1975, California passed the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, which required that health plans in the state cover all “medically necessary” procedures. Then, in the early ’80s the California Supreme Court struck down a law restricting the use of state funding for abortion services; now, Medi-Cal covers the cost of abortions. And finally, in the early 2000s, the state officially repealed the rest of the Therapeutic Abortion Act, and codified Roe v. Wade into state law.

Still, through open records requests the California Lawyer investigation found that the DMHC approved insurance plans from Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente in 2008 and 2012, respectively, that limit coverage for abortion. The 2008 plan approved for Anthem did not include any coverage for abortion, and the Kaiser plan included coverage only in cases of medical necessity. Those approvals laid the groundwork for the Catholic universities’ plans.

However, state officials from the DMHC say they are in the process of reviewing their decision to approve the policies as well as California law related to abortion coverage.

Rodger Butler, an information office for the DMHC, told RH Reality Check via email that the department is “currently engaged in an in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding coverage for abortion services under California law. This analysis includes a review of all previously approved health plan documents and consultation with legal experts in areas of state, federal, and constitutional law. Once complete, the results of this analysis will inform the DMHC’s position moving forward.”

Butler did not confirm when the review process might end, but if a decision is made before the end of the year it could block Santa Clara’s policy change and reverse Loyola’s.

Image: Shutterstock

The post Two California Universities Move to Drop Insurance Coverage of Abortion appeared first on RH Reality Check.


RH Reality Check's picture

Two California Universities Move to Drop Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Unless California state officials decide that the move violates state law, starting next year Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University, both Catholic-affiliated schools, will deny faculty, staff, and administrators seeking abortions coverage of the procedure.

Starting next year, at least two universities in California will deny faculty, staff, and administrators seeking abortions coverage of the procedure, unless California state officials decide that the move violates state law.

An investigation by California Lawyer magazine found that the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), which is tasked in part with reviewing employee health insurance policies, approved at least two insurance policies that did not provide coverage for certain abortions.

Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University, both Catholic-affiliated schools, have announced they will only offer those policies, one from Anthem Blue Cross and another from Kaiser Permanente, that include limited abortion coverage.

At issue is whether so-called elective abortion can be distinguished from “medically necessary” abortions, a term used to describe abortions performed in pregnancies that are the result of assault or incest, or in cases when the mother’s life is at risk.

Last October, Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh sent a letter to faculty saying that the school’s “core commitment as a Catholic university are incompatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the University’s health plans,” and said the university plan would only cover “therapeutic abortions.”

Loyola has already instituted the changes to its plan, which were accepted by the trustees of the college last October. Santa Clara’s new policy won’t take effect until the start of 2015.

California has long had abortion protections on the books. In 1967, the state legislature enacted the Therapeutic Abortion Act, a law ensuring the rights of women to get an abortion within 20 weeks of the pregnancy when the health of the mother is at risk. Five years later, the California Supreme Court expanded the Therapeutic Abortion Act by removing the pieces of the law that restricted abortions to cases of maternal risk, leaving only the provision that an abortion be performed by a doctor in a hospital.

In 1975, California passed the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, which required that health plans in the state cover all “medically necessary” procedures. Then, in the early ’80s the California Supreme Court struck down a law restricting the use of state funding for abortion services; now, Medi-Cal covers the cost of abortions. And finally, in the early 2000s, the state officially repealed the rest of the Therapeutic Abortion Act, and codified Roe v. Wade into state law.

Still, through open records requests the California Lawyer investigation found that the DMHC approved insurance plans from Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente in 2008 and 2012, respectively, that limit coverage for abortion. The 2008 plan approved for Anthem did not include any coverage for abortion, and the Kaiser plan included coverage only in cases of medical necessity. Those approvals laid the groundwork for the Catholic universities’ plans.

However, state officials from the DMHC say they are in the process of reviewing their decision to approve the policies as well as California law related to abortion coverage.

Rodger Butler, an information office for the DMHC, told RH Reality Check via email that the department is “currently engaged in an in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding coverage for abortion services under California law. This analysis includes a review of all previously approved health plan documents and consultation with legal experts in areas of state, federal, and constitutional law. Once complete, the results of this analysis will inform the DMHC’s position moving forward.”

Butler did not confirm when the review process might end, but if a decision is made before the end of the year it could block Santa Clara’s policy change and reverse Loyola’s.

Image: Shutterstock

The post Two California Universities Move to Drop Insurance Coverage of Abortion appeared first on RH Reality Check.


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It’s Not Just Ferguson: Austin’s Problem With Police Brutality

While national attention is focused on the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, researchers and advocates in different cities across the country are pointing out the obvious—this problem is larger than one town.

While national attention is focused on the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, researchers and advocates in different cities across the country are pointing out the obvious—this problem is larger than one town.

RH Reality Check spoke with Lenzi Sheible, president of Fund Texas Women—a nonprofit that assists women with the costs of obtaining abortion care—about research she conducted into police killings in her home town of Austin, Texas, a place normally seen as politically and socially progressive.

Sheible collected data on all deaths of civilians at the hands of the Austin Police Department between 2002 and 2012, and discovered grossly disproportionate uses of lethal force against African Americans.

“I found 18 people who died as a result of encountering the Austin Police Department,” Sheible said. “Six of them were violent, probably dangerous, and two were suicidal. The other ten were not a danger to the lives of the police who shot them. What intrigued me was that, of those ten, six were Black, three were Hispanic, and one was white.”

If that sounds disproportionate, when you take into account the demographics of Travis County—which includes the city of Austin—Sheible’s research is even more damning.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Austin was 790,000. Just less than half of the city’s residents identified as Anglo, “non-Hispanic White”, while 35 percent identified as Hispanic/Latino. Only 7.7 percent of Austin residents identified as African American.

“Austin was not living up to its reputation,” said Sheible. “We have police violence that makes it feel more dangerous for people of color.”

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Sheible’s research traced the fate of a complaint lodged with the U.S. Department of Justice by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in June 2004, which cited disproportionate abuse of search powers and use of force against minorities by the Austin Police Department (APD).

In the twilight of the Bush Administration, the department made 165 recommendations to the APD for areas of improvement, but did not take any disciplinary actions.

The APD said it implemented most of these recommendations, but in 2012, in response to more deaths due to police violence, the NAACP and the Texas Civil Rights Projects called for the investigation to be reopened. The groups repeated calls for the department to withhold federal funding to the APD until necessary changes were made. The department declined their requests.

Among the victims of lethal police force identified by Sheible:

  • Daniel Rocha, 18 years old, tried to flee police. Did not have a weapon.
  • Byron Carter, 20 years old, sitting in a car. Did not have a weapon.
  • Kevin Brown, 25 years old, shot near a nightclub. Did not have a weapon.

“To me this means that a person of color, who is not violent, who is not posing a threat to the lives of the police, still is executed because merely the presence of people of color threatens the police so strongly that they feel that they need to kill them,” said Sheible. “There’s no other reason why nine out of ten people who were killed, who were not threatening, would be people of color, in a city with a very small proportion of African American people,” she said.

When asked why Fund Texas Women is taking a public stand on the issue of police brutality, Sheible said that reproductive justice encompasses many broader issues than safe access to legal abortion.

“I’m interested in police brutality here in Austin because it impacts the ability of people of color to raise children safely,” she said. “These victims I’ve listed—they were someone’s children. Some of them had children themselves. How can you raise a family in a place where people are being killed?”

Image: Associated Press via YouTube

The post It’s Not Just Ferguson: Austin’s Problem With Police Brutality appeared first on RH Reality Check.


RH Reality Check's picture

It’s Not Just Ferguson: Austin’s Problem With Police Brutality

While national attention is focused on the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, researchers and advocates in different cities across the country are pointing out the obvious—this problem is larger than one town.

While national attention is focused on the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, researchers and advocates in different cities across the country are pointing out the obvious—this problem is larger than one town.

RH Reality Check spoke with Lenzi Sheible, president of Fund Texas Women—a nonprofit that assists women with the costs of obtaining abortion care—about research she conducted into police killings in her home town of Austin, Texas, a place normally seen as politically and socially progressive.

Sheible collected data on all deaths of civilians at the hands of the Austin Police Department between 2002 and 2012, and discovered grossly disproportionate uses of lethal force against African Americans.

“I found 18 people who died as a result of encountering the Austin Police Department,” Sheible said. “Six of them were violent, probably dangerous, and two were suicidal. The other ten were not a danger to the lives of the police who shot them. What intrigued me was that, of those ten, six were Black, three were Hispanic, and one was white.”

If that sounds disproportionate, when you take into account the demographics of Travis County—which includes the city of Austin—Sheible’s research is even more damning.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Austin was 790,000. Just less than half of the city’s residents identified as Anglo, “non-Hispanic White”, while 35 percent identified as Hispanic/Latino. Only 7.7 percent of Austin residents identified as African American.

“Austin was not living up to its reputation,” said Sheible. “We have police violence that makes it feel more dangerous for people of color.”

Tweet this infographic:
//

Tweet this infographic:
//

Sheible’s research traced the fate of a complaint lodged with the U.S. Department of Justice by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in June 2004, which cited disproportionate abuse of search powers and use of force against minorities by the Austin Police Department (APD).

In the twilight of the Bush Administration, the department made 165 recommendations to the APD for areas of improvement, but did not take any disciplinary actions.

The APD said it implemented most of these recommendations, but in 2012, in response to more deaths due to police violence, the NAACP and the Texas Civil Rights Projects called for the investigation to be reopened. The groups repeated calls for the department to withhold federal funding to the APD until necessary changes were made. The department declined their requests.

Among the victims of lethal police force identified by Sheible:

  • Daniel Rocha, 18 years old, tried to flee police. Did not have a weapon.
  • Byron Carter, 20 years old, sitting in a car. Did not have a weapon.
  • Kevin Brown, 25 years old, shot near a nightclub. Did not have a weapon.

“To me this means that a person of color, who is not violent, who is not posing a threat to the lives of the police, still is executed because merely the presence of people of color threatens the police so strongly that they feel that they need to kill them,” said Sheible. “There’s no other reason why nine out of ten people who were killed, who were not threatening, would be people of color, in a city with a very small proportion of African American people,” she said.

When asked why Fund Texas Women is taking a public stand on the issue of police brutality, Sheible said that reproductive justice encompasses many broader issues than safe access to legal abortion.

“I’m interested in police brutality here in Austin because it impacts the ability of people of color to raise children safely,” she said. “These victims I’ve listed—they were someone’s children. Some of them had children themselves. How can you raise a family in a place where people are being killed?”

Image: Associated Press via YouTube

The post It’s Not Just Ferguson: Austin’s Problem With Police Brutality appeared first on RH Reality Check.


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Montana Democrats Pick Amanda Curtis for U.S. Senate Nominee

Democratic delegates voted for Rep. Amanda Curtis (above) over rancher Dirk Adams during a special convention held Saturday, four days before the August 20 deadline for the party to choose a candidate to appear on the November ballot.

Following incumbent Democratic Sen. John Walsh’s decision to withdraw his bid for re-election, the Montana Democratic Party selected state Rep. Amanda Curtis (D-Butte) as its nominee for U.S. Senate.

Democratic delegates voted for Curtis over rancher Dirk Adams during a special convention held Saturday, four days before the August 20 deadline for the party to choose a candidate to appear on the November ballot. Curtis received 64 percent of the 128 delegate votes cast.

Walsh came under heavy criticism after it was alleged that he plagiarized parts of a paper he wrote while pursuing a master’s degree at the U.S. Army War College. After the New York Times reported on similarities between his paper and another document authored by a scholar at Harvard, the college opened an investigation.

Walsh was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock earlier this year to replace outgoing Sen. Max Baucus (D), who was tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China.

A joint statement by NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Montana said that Curtis’ nomination answered an “urgent call” from those who “demand a representative who will fight for the comprehensive health care to which they are entitled.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Executive Director Maggie Moran said that Curtis was a strong choice because of her support for reproductive rights. “Curtis has demonstrated a commitment to women’s health and personal privacy at the state level,” said Moran. “Women will make the difference in this election, and today’s decision demonstrates that the Montana Democratic Party recognizes and respects this fact.”

Curtis was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 2012, and was not seeking re-election in the upcoming race. However, she did express interest in a possible run for state senate in 2016.

Curtis will face U.S. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Montana at Large) in the general election. Elected in 2012, Daines has established an anti-choice voting record in his single term in the House. Daines co-sponsored and voted in favor of bills that would ban public funding of abortion care and ban abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation.

Daines is also a co-sponsor of so-called personhood legislation that would give constitutional rights to fertilized eggs, embryos, fetuses, and clones. Before his departure from the campaign, Walsh had released an ad criticizing Daines for his support of the legislation.

Despite having no campaign structure in place and no campaign funds, Curtis says she has a positive view of the possibilities of her campaign. “The national media and the political class have already said that this race is over,” Curtis told the Missoulian. “But I’ve got a secret: None of those folks got to vote in the state of Montana. If we win here in Montana — outspent, outgunned in a race where we were left for dead — it will send a powerful message to Washington, D.C. that we want change.”

Image: Montana Kaimin via YouTube

The post Montana Democrats Pick Amanda Curtis for U.S. Senate Nominee appeared first on RH Reality Check.


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Montana Democrats Pick Amanda Curtis for U.S. Senate Nominee

Democratic delegates voted for Rep. Amanda Curtis (above) over rancher Dirk Adams during a special convention held Saturday, four days before the August 20 deadline for the party to choose a candidate to appear on the November ballot.

Following incumbent Democratic Sen. John Walsh’s decision to withdraw his bid for re-election, the Montana Democratic Party selected state Rep. Amanda Curtis (D-Butte) as its nominee for U.S. Senate.

Democratic delegates voted for Curtis over rancher Dirk Adams during a special convention held Saturday, four days before the August 20 deadline for the party to choose a candidate to appear on the November ballot. Curtis received 64 percent of the 128 delegate votes cast.

Walsh came under heavy criticism after it was alleged that he plagiarized parts of a paper he wrote while pursuing a master’s degree at the U.S. Army War College. After the New York Times reported on similarities between his paper and another document authored by a scholar at Harvard, the college opened an investigation.

Walsh was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock earlier this year to replace outgoing Sen. Max Baucus (D), who was tapped to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China.

A joint statement by NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Montana said that Curtis’ nomination answered an “urgent call” from those who “demand a representative who will fight for the comprehensive health care to which they are entitled.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Executive Director Maggie Moran said that Curtis was a strong choice because of her support for reproductive rights. “Curtis has demonstrated a commitment to women’s health and personal privacy at the state level,” said Moran. “Women will make the difference in this election, and today’s decision demonstrates that the Montana Democratic Party recognizes and respects this fact.”

Curtis was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 2012, and was not seeking re-election in the upcoming race. However, she did express interest in a possible run for state senate in 2016.

Curtis will face U.S. Rep. Steve Daines (R-Montana at Large) in the general election. Elected in 2012, Daines has established an anti-choice voting record in his single term in the House. Daines co-sponsored and voted in favor of bills that would ban public funding of abortion care and ban abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation.

Daines is also a co-sponsor of so-called personhood legislation that would give constitutional rights to fertilized eggs, embryos, fetuses, and clones. Before his departure from the campaign, Walsh had released an ad criticizing Daines for his support of the legislation.

Despite having no campaign structure in place and no campaign funds, Curtis says she has a positive view of the possibilities of her campaign. “The national media and the political class have already said that this race is over,” Curtis told the Missoulian. “But I’ve got a secret: None of those folks got to vote in the state of Montana. If we win here in Montana — outspent, outgunned in a race where we were left for dead — it will send a powerful message to Washington, D.C. that we want change.”

Image: Montana Kaimin via YouTube

The post Montana Democrats Pick Amanda Curtis for U.S. Senate Nominee appeared first on RH Reality Check.


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Legal Wrap: Police Brutality Is a Reproductive Justice Issue

Police in riot gear on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, on Saturday, August 9.

Legal Wrap is a weekly round-up of key legal reproductive rights and justice news.

The horrifying events unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, a Black unarmed teenager, are a tragic reminder of why police violence in our communities is a reproductive justice issue and one that advocates cannot afford to stay silent on any longer.

Whatever you read on Ferguson and police violence, do not skip this piece by Brittney Cooper.

In related news, a new report details how pervasive racial discrimination severely undermines Black women’s health outcomes.

Erin Matson has this great read on the next “religious freedom” debate: using tax dollars to discriminate in adoption.

Texas governor and abortion rights foe Rick Perry was indicted last week on felony corruption and bribery charges. Andrea Grimes has the latest here.

A Pennsylvania woman is being jailed for having a stillbirth, according to advocates from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Meanwhile, the fate of two Pennsylvania buffer zones is in doubt following the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCullen v. Coakley.

An Ohio judge ruled that a Cincinnati abortion provider will have to close because the court lacks the jurisdiction to overturn a state agency decision to revoke the clinic’s license.

Anti-choice lawmakers in Mississippi have asked the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to hear their appeal of a decision blocking enforcement of the state’s hospital admitting privileges requirement for abortion providers.

Elsewhere, in Texas a judge heard arguments in the latest challenge to Texas’ targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law. RH Reality Check‘s coverage of the trial can be found here.

What’s an important public health tool in fighting the spread of HIV? Decriminalizing sex work.

Parental consent and notification laws are among the most pernicious anti-choice regulations, as this must-read piece explains.

The Supreme Court will likely take up marriage equality sometime next term, but this piece in the Washington Post argues the issue was actually decided more than 40 years ago.

It’s been a heavy news cycle, so let’s end on some good news: Oregon officials added transgender procedures to those covered by state-provided health insurance plans.

Image: Associated Press via YouTube

The post Legal Wrap: Police Brutality Is a Reproductive Justice Issue appeared first on RH Reality Check.


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