Roundup: “Personhood Amendment” Back in Action in Colorado

Amy Dempsey

"Personhood Amendment" Back in Action in Colorado; Sex Education Options in Utah; Catholic Archbishop Opposes Abortion in Ghana

"Personhood Amendment" Back in Action in Colorado
Another campaign to give fertilized embryos the legal status of a person is being launched in Denver by abortion opponents, The Associated Press
reported. Supporters of the measure said they will start collecting
signatures so that human embryos will be protected, amending the state
constitution.

Last year, a similar measure that classified fertilized embryos as peoplewas voted against 3-1, the AP said.

Supporters
said the word "fertilized" may have confused voters into visualized
chicken eggs. The new measure will instead say "the beginning of the
biological development."

Sex Education Options in Utah
The Deseret News
recently reported that a town hall meeting will be held Wednesday
regarding a bill tht would alter Utah’s sex education curriculum. The
meeting is open to the public, the article said.

Rep.
Lynn Hemingway, D-Salt Lake, sponsored the bill, which gives parents
two alternatives. One class would be abstinence-based, but would teach
strategies for waiting until marriage to have sex and offer information
about sexually transmitted infections. The other class would offer
promote abstinence, but would offer information on sexually transmitted
infections and forms of contraception, according to the article.

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The meeting is being hosted by Planned Parenthood Action Council, and Hemingway is scheduled to attend. 

Catholic Archbishop Opposes Abortion in Ghana

The
Most Rev. Philip Naameh of Ghana asked Christians to fight against the
legalization of abortion on the basis of being un-Catholic, according
to allAfrica.com.
At last weekend’s national convention of 800 Knights of St. John
International from Ghana, the United States, Liberia, Sierra Leone and
Togo, he also urged them to abstain from having sex and abstain from
distributing condoms.

According to the article, he said, "It would help bring the virtues of Christ into the administration of
the country and, therefore, minimize the vices associated with the
country’s governance."

OTHER NEWS TO NOTE:

August 25: Common Dreams: NOW President Terry O’Neill to Stand With Reproductive Health Care Providers, Defenders in Nebraska

August 25: Examiner: 40 Days for Life

August 25: LifeNews: Abortion Advocates Now Defend Late-Term Abortion Practitioner LeRoy Carhart 

August 25: LifeNews:Pro-Abortion Group to Issue Bogus Global Report Saying Abortion Helps Women

August 25: Mother Jones:Can Birth Control Use Change Your Career? 

August 25: Red State:Carly Fiorina and life issues: unanswered questions. 

August 25: Catholic Spirit: Wisconsin bishops object to state mandating contraception coverage 

August 25: LifeNews: Taxpayer-Funding of Abortions Now the New Roe v. Wade of the Abortion Debate

August 25: All Africa: Ghana: Resist Legalization of Abortion, Catholic Archbishop Tells Christians  

August 25: Choices Campus Blog: Guest Post: This Is What A Feminist Looks Like

August 25: Feminists for Choice: New Study Will Look at Effects of Emergency Contraception

August 25: BBC News: Women ‘doubt men will take pill’

August 25: Hartford Advocate:Miss Conception

August 25: Renew America: Who is really ‘wee-weed up’?  

August 25: South Lincoln County News:No prescription birth control at school health centers

August 24: Deseret News: Murray meeting to discuss plan to change sex education in Utah 

August 25: Wausau Daily Herald: LETTER: Reject false claims about abortion

August 25: Christian Post:Many Groups Still Believe Health Care Bill Covers Abortion  

August 25: Newsweek: How Plan B Works: Six Things You Always Wondered About Emergency Contraception 

August 25: New Mexico Independent: Bingaman says Congress maybe ‘ought to specify’ contraception access in benefit plans

August 25: AP: Abortion foes start push for ‘personhood’ measure   

August 25: Red State: DeVore’s Abortion Critique of Fiorina Without Merit  

August 25: Denver Post: Denver West principal ends his abstinence push

August 25: Lo Hud: (Letter) Planned Parenthood promotes abortion  

August 25: ABC News Australia:Bligh not taking abortion laws to Parliament  

August 25: TC Palm: Letter: Where does ‘health’ or ‘care’ fit with abortion?

News Sexual Health

State with Nation’s Highest Chlamydia Rate Enacts New Restrictions on Sex Ed

Nicole Knight Shine

By requiring sexual education instructors to be certified teachers, the Alaska legislature is targeting Planned Parenthood, which is the largest nonprofit provider of such educational services in the state.

Alaska is imposing a new hurdle on comprehensive sexual health education with a law restricting schools to only hiring certificated school teachers to teach or supervise sex ed classes.

The broad and controversial education bill, HB 156, became law Thursday night without the signature of Gov. Bill Walker, a former Republican who switched his party affiliation to Independent in 2014. HB 156 requires school boards to vet and approve sex ed materials and instructors, making sex ed the “most scrutinized subject in the state,” according to reproductive health advocates.

Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers of Alaska’s legislature.

Championing the restrictions was state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), who called sexuality a “new concept” during a Senate Education Committee meeting in April. Dunleavy added the restrictions to HB 156 after the failure of an earlier measure that barred abortion providers—meaning Planned Parenthood—from teaching sex ed.

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Dunleavy has long targeted Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest nonprofit provider of sexual health education, calling its instruction “indoctrination.”

Meanwhile, advocates argue that evidence-based health education is sorely needed in a state that reported 787.5 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people in 2014—the nation’s highest rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Surveillance Survey for that year.

Alaska’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the national average.

The governor in a statement described his decision as a “very close call.”

“Given that this bill will have a broad and wide-ranging effect on education statewide, I have decided to allow HB 156 to become law without my signature,” Walker said.

Teachers, parents, and advocates had urged Walker to veto HB 156. Alaska’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Amy Jo Meiners, took to Twitter following Walker’s announcement, writing, as reported by Juneau Empire, “This will cause such a burden on teachers [and] our partners in health education, including parents [and] health [professionals].”

An Anchorage parent and grandparent described her opposition to the bill in an op-ed, writing, “There is no doubt that HB 156 is designed to make it harder to access real sexual health education …. Although our state faces its largest budget crisis in history, certain members of the Legislature spent a lot of time worrying that teenagers are receiving information about their own bodies.”

Jessica Cler, Alaska public affairs manager with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, called Walker’s decision a “crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education” in a statement.

She added that Walker’s “lack of action today has put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk. This is designed to do one thing: Block students from accessing the sex education they need on safe sex and healthy relationships.”

The law follows the 2016 Legislative Round-up released this week by advocacy group Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. The report found that 63 percent of bills this year sought to improve sex ed, but more than a quarter undermined student rights or the quality of instruction by various means, including “promoting misinformation and an anti-abortion agenda.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: ‘If You Don’t Vote … You Are Trifling’

Ally Boguhn

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party's convention.

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party’s convention.

DNC Chair Marcia Fudge: “If You Don’t Vote, You Are Ungrateful, You Are Lazy, and You Are Trifling”

The chair of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), criticized those who choose to sit out the election while speaking on the final day of the convention.

“If you want a decent education for your children, you had better vote,” Fudge told the party’s women’s caucus, which had convened to discuss what is at stake for women and reproductive health and rights this election season.

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“If you want to make sure that hungry children are fed, you had better vote,” said Fudge. “If you want to be sure that all the women who survive solely on Social Security will not go into poverty immediately, you had better vote.”

“And if you don’t vote, let me tell you something, there is no excuse for you. If you don’t vote, you don’t count,” she said.

“So as I leave, I’m just going to say this to you. You tell them I said it, and I’m not hesitant about it. If you don’t vote, you are ungrateful, you are lazy, and you are trifling.”

The congresswoman’s website notes that she represents a state where some legislators have “attempted to suppress voting by certain populations” by pushing voting restrictions that “hit vulnerable communities the hardest.”

Ohio has recently made headlines for enacting changes that would make it harder to vote, including rolling back the state’s early voting period and purging its voter rolls of those who have not voted for six years.

Fudge, however, has worked to expand access to voting by co-sponsoring the federal Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were stripped by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.

“Mothers of the Movement” Take the National Spotlight

In July 2015, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had been found dead in her jail cell that morning due to “what appears to be self-asphyxiation.” Though police attempted to paint the death a suicide, Bland’s family has denied that she would have ended her own life given that she had just secured a new job and had not displayed any suicidal tendencies.

Bland’s death sparked national outcry from activists who demanded an investigation, and inspired the hashtag #SayHerName to draw attention to the deaths of Black women who died at the hands of police.

Tuesday night at the DNC, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, and a group of other Black women who have lost children to gun violence, in police custody, or at the hands of police—the “Mothers of the Movement”—told the country why the deaths of their children should matter to voters. They offered their support to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a speech at the convention.

“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter was lowered into the ground in a coffin,” said Geneva Reed-Veal.

“Six other women have died in custody that same month: Kindra Chapman, Alexis McGovern, Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Raynette Turner, Ralkina Jones, and Joyce Curnell. So many of our children are gone, but they are not forgotten,” she continued. 

“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. “His life ended the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.” 

McBath said that though she had lost her son, she continued to work to protect his legacy. “We’re going to keep telling our children’s stories and we’re urging you to say their names,” she said. “And we’re also going to keep using our voices and our votes to support leaders, like Hillary Clinton, who will help us protect one another so that this club of heartbroken mothers stops growing.” 

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, called herself “an unwilling participant in this movement,” noting that she “would not have signed up for this, [nor would] any other mother that’s standing here with me today.” 

“But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven, and … his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who is still here on Earth,” Fulton said. “I did not want this spotlight. But I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain of a path out of the darkness.”

What Else We’re Reading

Renee Bracey Sherman explained in Glamour why Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s position on abortion scares her.

NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue told Cosmopolitan why she shared her abortion story on stage at the DNC.

Lilly Workneh, the Huffington Post’s Black Voices senior editor, explained how the DNC was “powered by a bevy of remarkable black women.”

Rebecca Traister wrote about how Clinton’s historic nomination puts the Democratic nominee “one step closer to making the impossible possible.”

Rewire attended a Democrats for Life of America event while in Philadelphia for the convention and fact-checked the group’s executive director.

A woman may have finally clinched the nomination for a major political party, but Judith Warner in Politico Magazine took on whether the “glass ceiling” has really been cracked for women in politics.

With Clinton’s nomination, “Dozens of other women across the country, in interviews at their offices or alongside their children, also said they felt on the cusp of a major, collective step forward,” reported Jodi Kantor for the New York Times.

According to Philly.com, Philadelphia’s Maternity Care Coalition staffed “eight curtained breast-feeding stalls on site [at the DNC], complete with comfy chairs, side tables, and electrical outlets.” Republicans reportedly offered similar accommodations at their convention the week before.