Fierce

When Abortion Meets Immigration: How I Help The Undocumented Obtain An Abortion

In recent years, there has been an uptick of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. These young people take on this punishing journey in hopes of a safer life in the states, so once they present themselves at an official U.S. port of entry, they are placed in a temporary shelter.

The federal government is legally required to provide housing, food, and medical care to these unaccompanied minors, as per a legal decision called the Flores Agreement. However, providing contraception and abortion care as required was one of the first things to go as the current Administration began to disregard Flores, and now recent news reports indicate young people are being denied basic necessities as well.

During the intake process, all minors undergo a medical exam that includes a pregnancy test and then options counseling is supposed to be done with the pregnant minors.

CREDIT: Irma Garcia

Due to former shelter policies, mostly at shelters with religious affiliations, they were not always able to provide, refer, or in any way facilitate access to contraceptives and abortion services. We also know that young people who want to continue their pregnancy are not provided the trauma-informed care they need, and often receive care from a doctor who does not speak their language.

In 2017, the #JusticeForJane campaign swept the country as the Trump Administration attempted to block a 17-year-old Central American immigrant minor, referred to as “Jane Doe” for anonymity, from obtaining an abortion in Texas.

Jane had already gotten a judicial bypass to have the abortion without parental consent with the help of Jane’s Due Process (JDP), a Texas non-profit that provides legal representation and practical support for pregnant minors. The federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) refused to allow her to use the bypass and forced her to go to a crisis pregnancy center for anti-abortion, religious-based counseling. They were also set on not transporting her to the abortion clinic, and refused to release her to her court-assigned attorney and guardian, stating that it would be facilitating abortion. The shelter claimed these orders were coming from ORR, contrary to the stated policies around abortion on their website and in the Flores settlement. In 2008, George W. Bush issued a policy that allowed “heightened involvement” from ORR in crucial cases like abortion, but in 2017, that policy was reinterpreted to prohibit any type of facilitation for an unaccompanied minor to access abortion care. Jane Doe’s judicial bypass lawyers and JDP contacted the ACLU, who then filed a lawsuit against the federal government regarding ORR’s new, ad hoc policy that prohibited facilitating abortion for unaccompanied minors, on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Jane was adamant that she wanted an abortion, and after a month of obstruction by the Trump Administration, she was finally able to get it. The ACLU sought class certification for her case, meaning that she could be a representative of all unaccompanied minors in a similar situation. As of last month, she won: a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump Administration cannot block unaccompanied minors in federal custody from getting an abortion.

While having the federal government block access to an abortion clinic is an unusual barrier, all of our clients face barriers to abortion access.

This starts with the parental consent law that requires young people who cannot get parental consent for an abortion to go in front of a judge for permission to obtain an abortion. Jane’s Due Process was founded in 2001 when the first parental involvement law for a minor seeking an abortion in Texas went into effect. Since its founding, the organization has supported thousands of young people in Texas to obtain an abortion and access birth control without parental involvement, and has provided information about reproductive and sexual health decision-making to young people and those who support them across the state. The reasons for not notifying a parent about these reproductive health decisions vary–from knowing that parents will force them to give birth to fear of abuse to parents not being a part of that person’s life. Regardless of the reason, my role is to make sure that every person who calls us seeking an abortion can obtain one, even with the socioeconomic barriers (transportation, money, lack of communication platforms, support system, etc.) that are present.

In the cases of ORR Janes, shelters are required to reach out to me as soon as the unaccompanied minor mentions that she is interested in terminating her pregnancy.

At that point, I speak with the minor to get a sense of her situation, and then reach out to clinics and local attorneys to set her appointments. This process is usually strenuous due to most ORR shelters being in the southern part of Texas, which only has one abortion clinic (procedures up to 17 weeks) and limited doctor availability. Once an attorney meets with the minor, the bypass application gets filed and a hearing date is set. Between these dates, I am in constant communication with Jane to prep for her hearing. She then goes before a judge to prove that obtaining an abortion is in her best interest or that she’s mature enough to make the decision to terminate. Once the bypass gets approved, I reach out to the clinic to notify and set her appointments. Then, I reach out to abortion funds to cover her abortion costs and lastly, confirm with the shelter that transportation is set. In the rare case I receive pushback, I reach out to our legal counsel and the ACLU for support in clarifying policies and reiterating the constitutional rights that unaccompanied minors have regarding abortion care.

It is important to remember that when a young person becomes pregnant within a conservative or capitalist state that never provided the appropriate sex education in the first place, it is not the young person’s fault. Abortion is a constitutional right, no matter your immigration status, and the organization I work with continues fighting to make sure each young person’s right to an abortion is protected and accessible.

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Entertainment

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Roger Kisby / Fotógrafo autónomo / Getty Images

¡Mi gente! Your faves could never. Latin music domination continues around the world with the top spots of global streaming platforms being stacked with Latinx artists. What a time to be alive. Remember when we all had to pretend Drake was Dominican to get some kind of representation out here? But when you think about the sheer number of people on the planet that speak Spanish, it totally makes sense that Latinx artists would have such a massive reach. 

And let’s be real, while fluency helps, you really don’t have to be proficient to enjoy reggaeton. The energetic, pulsating beats can compel anyone to move. Do you really think everyone in the United States knew the English translation of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” in order to enjoy it? Music transcends language and so does Colombian trap artist J Balvin apparently. Do you think anyone even noticed that the lyrics in “Harlem Shake” are largely in Spanish? Nope. 

J Balvin is here to stay.

For six consecutive weeks, J Balvin has chopped the global charts on YouTube. That’s a total of 1.26 billion views on the platform. 

“Artista más visto en YouTube Global,” Balvin wrote in an Instagram caption.

This comes as no surprise to Balvin fans. In 2018, Balvin ousted drake as the most-streamed artist worldwide on Spotify. The singer surpassed 48 million monthly listeners last summer thanks to his single “X” with Nicky Jam which streamed over 327 million times. Balvin is in great company on the global charts with Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna all in the top 10. The trio’s single “China” with Anuel AA and Karol G is currently number 1 on the YouTube global charts and number 2 in the United States chart. However, we’re pleased to note that “Señorita” by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes is topping the charts in the states. 

Balvin shouts out his Latinx fans. 

“Artista más escuchado en el mundo en @spotify posición #1 que celebro con todos mis latinos y los soñadores. Gracias Gracias Gracias,” Balvin wrote in the caption. 

Our boy is famous basically everywhere?

The top countries streaming Balvin’s music are Mexico with 240 million views, Argentina with 121 million views, and Colombia with 121 million views. The United States is in fourth place with 112 million views, followed by Spain, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela. But fear not, Balvin has fans in at least 100 different countries according to YouTube. 

We stan a humble king of the masses!

Like, literally could you imagine how this level of adoration and attention would completely warp your mind? I would be a monster. I would build a house out of fan mail and then set it ablaze just to laugh at my stupid fans. I’d have so many, who cares! Meanwhile, the artist, who typically regales his followers with personal messages on Instagram every morning at 5 a.m., knows how to connect with his fans. Balvin even served ordinary people from a coffee cart in New York City the other day. 

“Buenos días , buenos días , buenos días !!!!! ARCOÍRIS TOUR empieza 30 de Agosto en Puerto Rico !! Choliseo,” he wrote on Instagram. 

 We stan a humble king of the masses!

This isn’t the first Latin wave (and it won’t be the last).

In the 1990s, the late and great Selena catapulted Tejano and Cumbia music into the mainstream American consciousness. This ushered in the era of the “Latin Explosion” where legends were born. Ricky Martin, Thalía, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer Lopez made their marks. Hell, even Frank Sinatra personally invited Luis Miguel to record a duet of “Come Fly With Me” on his 1994 album Duets II. 

In the 2000s, there was the “Latin Pop Boom” that saw the likes of Shakira, Paulina Rubio, and Christina Aguilera topping the charts. You may even remember non-Latinx artists trying to ride the wave with Beyoncé collaborating with Shakira on the duet, “Beautiful Liar,” and releasing a Spanish language version of the single “Irreplaceable.” It almost feels odd to call these decades different waves or eras when it is pretty clear Latinxs have been consistently rocking the charts since Gloria Estefan in the 1980s. Since then, in the United States, we have been blessed with many more Latinx acts including the likes of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Becky G, and Cardi B. And of course, there are all the amazing imports from Latinx countries around the world. If we want to continue this Latinx chart domination, I only have one piece of advice: stream “China” by J. Balvin on YouTube and Spotify!

This Donkey Has Been Released From A Mexican Jail After Public Outcry

Things That Matter

This Donkey Has Been Released From A Mexican Jail After Public Outcry

@defensaanimal / Twitter

A burro walls free after spending more than 72 hours in a local Mexican jail. He was booked and thrown in there because his owners, a couple in their eighties, were unable to pay their property taxes. 

Together with the help of a local animal welfare group, the donkey is a free from the jail cell and is once again back with his owners. 

Animal lovers everywhere are celebrating the news of a burros release from jail.

A donkey has been freed from jail in San Sebastián Río Dulce, Oaxaca, after 72 hours behind bars through the efforts of an animal rights organizations.

The animal was arrested over the weekend for its owners’ inability to pay local taxes.

Pascual Cruz and Alejandra Mejía, both in their 80s, did not have the means to pay the taxes, which other residents have denounced as abusively high.

After hearing that the couple had been refused the right to take the donkey food and water during its detention, animal rights activists in the state united to file an animal cruelty case with the state Attorney General’s Office.

Oaxaca animal rights group president Hilda Toledo said that activists had planned on going to Río Dulce to protest but the town is considered dangerous and outsiders must solicit authorization to enter, so they chose the legal route.

It all started when a couple in their eighties allegedly didn’t pay taxes. 

A donkey was booked into the town jail in San Sebastián Río Dulce, Oaxaca, apparently for unpaid property taxes.

In a truly cruel move, the city’s tax agent ordered the animals arrest so that the elderly couple wouldn’t be able to transport the firewood they use for cooking. But  Pascual Cruz and Alejandra Mejía, 88 and 86-years-old respectively, say they’ve been caught up in a power struggle between groups trying to take control of local resources. 

Authorities in the Mexican state of Oaxaca came to seize the couple’s burro.

Even though the couple says they only use the burro for domestic uses around the house, not for economic gain, the tax agent seized the donkey and placed it in the town jail. 

The incarceration was denounced by the Network of United Animal Rights Activists of Oaxaca.

“It may not be of much interest or importance to others, but it is for the animal’s owners,” said the organization in a Facebook post, “given that it is one of their most valuable possessions, since they use it to transport firewood from the hills to their home.”

The burro was being held without food or water and many people around Mexico were upset by the animal cruelty.

The couple also claims to have been refused the right to take the animal food and water during several days of imprisonment.

Many people around the world were really concerned for the donkey – some even writing to PETA for help.

One Twitter user wrote to to PETA and. Arjona animal rights supporting celebrities including Ricky Gervais. It’s not clear if any of them were involved in the release of the burro. 

Strangely, this isn’t the first time a donkey has been placed under arrest and thrown behind bars.

Another Mexican donkey landed itself in jail after biting and kicking two men.

The animal was locked up in a holding pen normally used for keeping drunks off the streets after it lashed out at the pair at a ranch in Chiapas state. 

The owner of the angry burro, Mauro Gutierrez, was told that he‘d have to pay the injured men’s medical bills before the creature is released from custody.

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