Fierce

Trump’s Latest Attack On Planned Parenthood Could Be The Start To Our Sentence As Handmaids So Pay Attention

The Trump administration just got a step closer to winning the battle in policing women’s bodies and reproductive systems in the United States. On Wednesday, August 20, it was reported that Planned Parenthood announced it would withdraw from Title X, essentially losing out on about $60 million a year in federal funding. 

Planned Parenthood’s decision wasn’t an easy one to make, and the Trump administration played a role in essentially forcing their decision. 

Planned Parenthood’s decision to withdraw from Title X and its funding came in response to a new Trump administration rule that refuses to allow Title X clinics from referring their patients for abortions.

Earlier this year in July, a rule preventing taxpayer-funded clinics from referring patients for abortions went into effect immediately on the 15th of that month. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services immediately began enforcing Trump administration’s “Protect Life Rule.” 

Now, the Trump administration’s latest attack on women’s reproductive rights will, according to CNN, likely increase abortion rates. It will lead to unwanted and unintended pregnancies due to a lack of accessible birth control, and it could even push women to seek unsafe methods and practices of abortion. 

On August 19, Planned Parenthood tweeted about the Trump administration forcing them out of the Title X program, “our nation’s program focused on family planning, of which we serve 40% of patients.” Planned Parenthood isn’t, however, throwing in the towel or backing down without a fight. 

Being forced out of Title X won’t stop us from referring for or performing abortions, prescribing birth control, or any of our other services,” Planned Parenthood shared in a tweet. 

“Our doors are open and we are fighting against the gag rule.”

Despite this, Planned Parenthood is still working on making sure that patients who benefit from their services can still maintain access to the healthcare benefits they need. But you can help, too, and continue to fight for women’s reproductive rights and for women to have full control of our bodies. 

Here’s what you should know about the Trump administration’s latest attack on our bodies and what it means for women. 

First things first: what is Title X? 

Title X is a federal family planning program that helps women, particularly those that are low-income, have access to birth control and a number of other reproductive health services since its inception nearly 50 years ago. According to USA Today, about 4 million patients nationwide benefit under Title X “which distributes $260 million a year in family planning grants to clinics.” The program is also responsible for filling the gaps in health care access including cancer screenings, STD testing, annual exams for low-income communities who can’t afford it or don’t have health insurance. Contrary to what the Trump administration might lead you to believe, though. Title X does not fund abortion care. 

Now, who will this new Title X rule really affect? 

For nearly a century, Planned Parenthood has been one of the nation’s leading providers of affordable health care for women, men, and young people. One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center and their health centers have helped an estimated 515,000 women prevent unintended pregnancies and 216,000 abortions every year. It’s no doubt that the resources Planned Parenthood is able to provide are imperative to a woman’s choice to her body and her wellbeing. 

But this latest rule will threaten that. However, Planned Parenthood’s latest decision to no longer receive Title X funding doesn’t mean that clinics are closing. This just means that Planned Parenthood means business and is not willing to comply with the Trump administration’s dangerous policing of women’s bodies. Ultimately, Planned Parenthood’s McGill Johnson emphasized in a news conference that they hope their withdrawal will push Congress to block the gag rule. 

According to USA Today, the new Title X includes a ban on abortion referrals by clinics that are taxpayer-funded, financial separation from facilities that provide abortions, and designating abortion counseling as optional instead of the standard practice. 

Now, low-income women will be the ones to feel the effects of this latest rule.

 This community relies on Title X the most and according to Cosmopolitan’s breakdown of how it will affect low-income women, they’ll have to look for less accessible ways to undergo routine care like obtaining birth control, STI testing, and annual exams. Because even though Planned Parenthood is keeping its doors open and still operating, it might become even harder for them to provide these services for free anymore to patients who can’t afford them. For example, in states like Utah and Minnesota, Planned Parenthood is the only Title X provider so women in these states will have even fewer options. 

“It will simply be impossible for other health centers to fill the gap,” said Planned Parenthood’s McGill Johnson to Cosmopolitan magazine. “Wait times for appointments will skyrocket, and people will delay or go without care.” 

This isn’t the end of this fight. This is how other states and organizations are helping and how YOU can help, too. 

Planned Parenthood already sued the Trump administration in March in an effort to block this rule and the American Medical Association also was a plaintiff in the lawsuit. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals still allowed the rule to take effect and prohibit clinics from providing abortion referrals to Title X patients. 

Maine Family Planning and more than 20 other states have also joined Planned Parenthood in challenging this new rule. Further, governors in states including Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Washington have all said they will withdraw from Title X if this new gag rule is implemented. 

It’s important that we don’t let the Trump administration deter us from continuing the fight against our basic human rights, specifically the rights of women’s bodies. So while you brush up on your knowledge about Title X and what it means for women, you should also share that knowledge with others and motivate them to give back as well. 

Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

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Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

elizabethwarren / juliancastrotx / Instagram

Democrats have officially wrapped their third round of Democratic debates. Last night, 12 candidates for the Democratic nomination went head to head on the debate stage in Ohio. The biggest topics of the night were President Trump’s sudden withdrawal of troops in Syria leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Turkey’s attacks and what to do with billionaires. There were some clear winners and losers from the debate. Here is your quick breakdown from the candidates trying to be the Democratic nominee for president.

Elizabeth Warren delivered a powerful message on the inequalities of the abortion debate.

“I think there are a number of options. I think as Mayor Buttigieg said, there are many different ways that people are talking about different options and I think we may have to talk about them,” Sen. Warren said when asked if she’d add justices to the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights. “But, on Roe v. Wade, can we just pause for a minute here. I lived in an America where abortion was illegal and rich women still got abortions because they could travel. They could go to places where it was legal. What we’re talking about now, is that the people who are denied access to abortion are the poor, are the young, are 14-year-olds who were molested by a family member. We now have support across this country. Three out of 4 Americans believe in the rule of Roe v. Wade. When you’ve got three out of four Americans supporting it, we should be able to get that passed through Congress. We should not leave this up to the Supreme Court. We should do it through democracy because we can.”

The U.S. has seen a series of laws passed on the state level aiming to limit access to abortion. The laws have attempted to shutter Planned Parenthood clinics, which offer many more services than abortions, and Alabama’s law sought to put physicians in prison for 99 years for performing abortions. Louisiana has a law that is being heard by the Supreme Court this session that could force all but one doctor in the state to stop performing abortions.

Julián Castro spoke out about increasing police brutality and deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

“I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots at night,” former HUD Secretary Castro said when asked about preventing handgun homicides. “I can remember ducking into the backseat of a car when I was a freshman in high school across the street from my school, my public school because folks were shooting at each other.”

Castro continued by speaking about a topic that has been frequently discussed among the candidates, government buybacks of guns. Castro pointed out that he doesn’t like the idea of a mandatory buyback program since some people have not been able to define it. Furthermore, Castro states that if authorities are not going door-to-door then it isn’t going to be effective.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 39,773 people died from gun-related incidents in the U.S. in 2017. The deaths came from suicides, murder, law enforcement, accidents, and undetermined circumstances.

Castro also made a point to name the latest victim of deadly police violence.

Atatiana Jefferson was home in Fort Worth, Texas with her nephew playing video games when neighbors called the police to check up on Jefferson. The officer who killed Jefferson, Aaron Y. Dean, resigned before he could be fired, according to The New York Times and has been charged with murder in the death. It is also reported that there have been six police-involved killings in the Fort Worth area this year.

Beto O’Rourke doubled down on his plan to create a mandatory buyback program of assault rifles.

If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47, one of these weapons of war, or brings it out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, which we saw when we were at Kent State [University] recently, then that weapon will be taken from them,” former Congressman O’Rourke told the audience when asked about finding the weapons and taking them away. “If they persist, there will be other consequences from law enforcement. But the expectation is that Americans will follow the law.”

Bernie Sanders, fresh from a health scare, let the billionaires have it.

“When you have a half-million Americans sleeping out on the streets today; when you have 87 million people uninsured or under-insured; when you have hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt,” Sanders said. “Then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage and that truth is we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality and we cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war for 45 years.”

The night was filled with other candidates bringing up issues of the opiate crisis, Russian meddling in American democracy, the need to bring dignity back to jobs, and Biden was confronted about the Ukrainian scandal his son is involved in.

READ: From Gun Reform To Immigration, Here Are The Highlights Of Last Night’s #DemDebate

Ecuador Was In Chaos After Massive Protests But The Government Has Reached A Deal With These Indigenous Activists

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Ecuador Was In Chaos After Massive Protests But The Government Has Reached A Deal With These Indigenous Activists

@democracynow / Twitter

Ecuador’s government announced a round of talks with leaders of the Indigenous groups who have been mobilizing against the government in a move to end the violence and chaos that has racked the nation for more than a week.

President Moreno announced he would withdraw the country from a deal reached with the IMF that many said would cause the greatest harms to the country’s most vulnerable populations.

In a major address, President Lenin Moreno announced he had struck a deal with indigenous leaders to cancel a disputed austerity package.

The news comes after nearly two weeks of protests that have paralyzed the economy and left seven dead.

Under the new agreement, President Moreno will withdraw the International Monetary Fund-backed package, known as Decree 883, that included a sharp rise in fuel costs. Indigenous leaders, in turn, will call on their followers to end protests and street blockades.

“Comrades, this deal is a compromise on both sides,” Moreno said. “The indigenous mobilization will end and Decree 883 will be lifted.”

The two sides will work together to develop a package of measures to cut government spending, increase revenue and reduce Ecuador’s growing budget deficits and public debt.

Ecuador’s Indigenous groups celebrated the announcement as a major victory.

“I’m so happy I don’t know what to say. I don’t have words, I’m so emotional. At least God touched the president’s heart,” said protester Rosa Matango in an interview with The Guardian. “I am happy as a mother, happy for our future. We indigenous people fought and lost so many brothers, but we’ll keep going forward.”

Caravans of cars roamed the streets early on Monday honking in celebration, passengers shouting, banging pots and waving Ecuadorian flags.

“The moment of peace, of agreement, has come for Ecuador,” said Arnaud Peral, the United Nations’ resident coordinator in Ecuador and one of the mediators of the nationally televised talks. “This deal is an extraordinary step.”

Wearing the feathered headdress and face paint of the Achuar people of the Amazon rainforest, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nations, Jaime Vargas, thanked President Moreno and demanded improved long-term conditions for Indigenous Ecuadorians.

“We want peace for our brothers and sisters in this country,” Vargas said. “We don’t want more repression.”

The protests started when the President affirmed his support for an IMF-backed agreement, known as Decree 883.

The move sparked nationwide protests as prices rose overnight by about a 25% for gas and double for diesel. A state of emergency was imposed on Thursday. Truck and taxi drivers forced a partial shutdown of Quito’s airport and roadblocks have paralyzed major roads across the country.

Images from Quito showed protesters hurling gas bombs and stones, ransacking and vandalizing public buildings as well as clashing with the police in running battles late into the night.

Some protests became so violent that the government was actually forced to flee the capital of Quito for the coastal city of Guayaquil.

All of this was in response to Decree 883 which would have ended fuel subsidies that many of the country’s poorest citizens have come to rely on.

Other indigenous demands included higher taxes on the wealthy and the firing of the interior and defence ministers over their handling of the protests.

In a shift from the heated language of the last 10 days of protests, each side at the negotiations praised the other’s willingness to talk as they outlined their positions in the first hour before a short break.

“From our heart, we declare that we, the peoples and nations, have risen up in search of liberty,” Vargas told The Guardian. “We recognize the bravery of the men and women who rose up.”