Things That Matter

Alabama Abortion Activists Scored A Major Win As Federal Judge Blocks Near-Total Abortion Ban

A federal judge has temporarily halted a near-total abortion ban from going into effect in Alabama, originally slated for enforcement on November 15. That decision, made by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, blocks all of the near-total abortion bans passed by red states this year. The law would have criminalized both doctors who perform abortions and the women who receive them, with no exception for rape or incest victims. Doctors who performed the procedure would be faced with prison sentences up to 99 years.

While this is all very good news for women, especially the rapidly growing Latino population in Alabama, the decision just brings the question of abortion closer to the Supreme Court, where anti-abortion legislators hope to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“It defies the United States Constitution,” writes U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson.

Credit: @ResistMoveTRM / Twitter

Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act “violates Supreme Court precedent,” because it bans abortion before the fetus is viable, Thompson writes. Thompson goes on to discuss the irreparable harm that enforcement of the ban would cause while awaiting the court to decide on the matter. “Enforcement of the ban would yield serious
and irreparable harm violating the right to privacy and preventing women from obtaining abortions in
Alabama.”

Thompson puts it bluntly: “A near-total ban imposes
substantial costs on women,” he concludes, referring to the financial and emotional cost on women who are unable to obtain an abortion, along with the women who would be so desperate, they may attempt to self-abort at great risk to their own health.

All this to say that Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, and Utah are all still places women can legally exercise their reproductive rights.

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As quickly as these states passed their severely restrictive abortion bans, some that were so early in the pregnancy that most women aren’t even aware that they’re pregnant yet, the ACLU filed a lawsuit. As the non-profit announced the news, supporters flooded Twitter with comments like “HELL YEAH” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the work that you do!”

Of course, just as many opponents of the decision have made their opinion heard, too. “The ACLU used to defend free speech. Now they advocate infanticide,” tweets one Richie Angel. Latinas might be the loudest voices yet, because one Maria Florencia Freijo responded to Richie, “Callate pelotudo. Shut UP.”

Abortion restrictions disproportionately affect low-income POC, and legislators know it.

Credit: @globalissuesweb / Twitter

“Many Latinxs understand that these bans only serve to hurt our community,” Maria Elena Perez, Deputy Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) told POPSUGAR. “What we know to be true about these restrictions is that they disproportionately affect low-income people of color who are forced to travel long distances and pay high costs to obtain abortion care. People with means will always seek abortion care somewhere else. And undocumented Latinx immigrants, many of whom cannot travel for fear of detention and deportation, have even fewer options.”

In fact, research shows that the majority of Latinxs, regardless of religious faith, don’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

When the Alabama ban was initially passed in March, a #YouKnowMe hashtag was born.

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Amidst the initial fury that Alabama lawmakers elected to force any child or adult who was raped by a stranger or family member to carry the baby to full-term, women rallied. They flooded the Alabama statehouse and, if they couldn’t, they shared their abortion stories on social media under the hashtag #YouKnowMe. 

Once again, women must actively humanize themselves and their experiences for the men in power to listen. It shouldn’t matter if it’s your mother, your sister, or your daughter, because we’re full-fledged human beings who deserve rights no matter what we mean to you. For so many women, #YouKnowMe became a way to lift the shame around abortion and empower young women to choose how they want to start a family.

Women across America are celebrating the victory.

Credit: @jess_ez / Twitter

The fight is far from over. “As we have stated before, the State’s objective is to advance our case to the US Supreme Court,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said, “where we intend to submit evidence that supports our argument that Roe and Casey were wrongly decided and that the Constitution does not prohibit states from protecting unborn children from abortion.” That leads many concerned over women’s reproductive rights, given the Supreme Court’s most recent Justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

READ: Google Maps Has Been Directing Women In Search Of Abortion Clinics To Anti-Choice Clinics

Brazil’s New Culture Official Says There Is A Link Between Abortion And Rock Music

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Brazil’s New Culture Official Says There Is A Link Between Abortion And Rock Music

IMDB

One of President Jair Bolsonaro’s top officials, the head of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Dante Mantovani says rock music leads to satanism and abortions. The right-wing conspiracy posits that the social theorist Theodore Adorno, who was influenced by Karl Marx, wrote the entire Beatles’ song catalog to destroy Western civilization. It is completely unfounded and totally fabricated.

Mantovani shared a video on his personal YouTube page explaining how rock music leads to abortions which leads to Satanism. The 11-minute video accuses Elvis Presley and John Lennon of being affiliated with the devil. 

Mantovani says rock music destroyed American values in the 1960s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wozkvbecbSI

“Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions,” Mantovani said. “At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism.” 

On December 2nd, Bolsanaro appointed Mantovani to oversee Funarte, an organization founded in 1975. Once under the Ministry of Culture, after Bolsonaro’s administration eliminated that agency, it is now under the subdivision of the Ministry of Citizenship according to CNN. The purpose of Funarte is to, “promote and incentivize the production, practice, development and diffusion of the arts throughout the country.”

Mantovani lambasted artists like John Lennon and Elvis Presley for introducing behaviors like “hip-shaking” that leads to satanism.  “Lennon openly said, more than once, that he made a pact with the devil — with Satan, in order to be famous and successful,” he says. “In the 1950’s this so-called Elvis Presley emerges with rock music that makes everyone bounce and shake their hips. This is when certain behaviors start being introduced — Elvis Presley, for instance, died of an overdose.”

This isn’t the first time Mantovani has disparaged rock music.

Mantovani seems to believe that there is too much rhythm in rock music which causes people to beat each other. 

“What happens with rock is that the rhythm is always very repetitive. When a musical genre is more based on rhythm it speaks more to the body than the soul,” Mantovani says in a video from 2018 named “Is Rock Music?” “That’s why you see in rock shows people jumping, sometimes hitting each other — in punk rock there is the tradition of people beating each other and then leaving as old friends.” 

The issue with Mantovani’s bizarre views is that they could influence polices. He will oversee initiatives for music events and he is responsible for allocating government funds to music and the arts. In the past, artists have been able to receive up to 60 million Brazilian reals ($14 million) in funding from the government, although Bolsonaro has recently slashed that number. 

The government official also blames the American CIA for spreading the psychedelic drug LSD at Woodstock 1969. 

“Woodstock, that festival from the 1960s that gather a bunch of people, where hippies took drugs and LSD — there are certain theories that suggest that the large scale distribution of the drug was actually carried out by the CIA,” he says in the video. 

Of course, Mantovani is willing to make exceptions for his personal favorites: Metallica and Angra. 

Mantovani claims Metallica and Angra are the exceptions to the rule because they’re good to listen to “when you’re driving in traffic” or “feeling a bit tired.” Angra bassist Felipe Andreoli responded on Instagram, saying he was embarrassed to even be affiliated with the head of Funarte. 

“So much ignorance, so much disinformation, SO EMBARRASSED to have my band associated in any way with this guy. I’m not going to waste my time attacking his comments because, those of us who live off of and know about rock music know that he is delirious,” CNN translated. “It scares me to see such a retrograde, fanatical person in such an important position for our country’s culture.”

Newsweek believes the conspiracy theory, that Adorno wrote the Beatles’ music with Marxist undertones, began to spread amongst the right in Brazil this September, a month before Mantovani made his video. Olavo de Carvalho a mentor of Bolsonaro and a right-wing extremist who once said Pepsi used stem cells from aborted fetuses as sweetener, spread the Beatles conspiracy. However, the conspiracy itself is fairly old.

“The theory seems to have originated with The Committee of 300, a book by supposed ex-MI6 agent John Coleman,” according to Rock Nerd. “This reveals how Adorno, in fact, masterminded the whole British Invasion of the 1960s, although apparently for that the Tavistock Institute (which Adorno had nothing to do with outside the works of conspiracists) was the work of Jesuits rather than Jews. Or perhaps, if you ask Henry Makow, the Illuminati.” 

Newsweek suggests it is unsurprising Mantovani would espouse such strange rhetoric when many in Bolsonaro’s administration seem to be obsessed with rigid, so-called traditional values. 

Evelyn Hernandez Is Facing A Third Trial And Angered Protesters Used A New Way To Show Their Frustration

Things That Matter

Evelyn Hernandez Is Facing A Third Trial And Angered Protesters Used A New Way To Show Their Frustration

@bbcstories / Twitter

There are rising tensions in El Salvador as activists are protesting the attorney general’s decision to seek a third trial for a woman accused of killing her stillborn son. The woman, Evelyn Hernandez, was exonerated in an August retrial after an earlier judgment found her guilty of killing her stillborn son and sentenced her to 30 years behind bars. Hernandez, 21, was found innocent after the judge said there was not enough evidence to convict her of the crime. 

The issue of abortion has always been a widely-debated and divisive topic in conservative El Salvador where abortion is illegal. Many women in the country have been prosecuted for attempting abortions even in dire medical situations. Activists look at Hernandez’s case as an example of an unjust system targeting her due to her limited financial status. 

 “We do not want Evelyn to be viewed as a criminal and persecuted,” Claribel Ayala, a protester outside the attorney general’s office in El Salvador told Reuters. “We’re going to stand with her until justice is done.”

While activists see Hernandez’s case as a trial against women rights, prosecutors are looking at her as a criminal.

Credit: @NARAL / Twitter 

Activists dressed in clown attire took to the streets of El Salvador this week to voice their disapproval of the news that attorney general Raul Melara would be seeking a third trial in Hernandez’s case. Many of them threw confetti-filled eggs at his office and even painted his door red with paint. Melara acknowledges their anger but sees the case with a different lens.  

“There are groups that have a big interest in seeing this as persecution against poverty, that this woman is being targeted because she had an emergency outside the hospital, but the proof is overwhelming and shows this isn’t the case,” Melara told reporters.

Hernandez’s release from prison was viewed as a victory for women rights. 

Credit: @karlazabs / Twitter

Hernandez said she was raped by a gang member and was unaware of her pregnancy until just before delivering a stillborn son back in 2016. She was found on her bathroom floor covered with blood and would be taken to an emergency room by her mother and a neighbor. When doctors examined her they noted that there were visible signs of delivery but found no baby. They reported Hernandez to local authorities and would later find her newborn dead inside of a septic tank.

She’s been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the alleged killing of her child. Prosecutors said that she had purposely induced abortion only to leave the newborn to die. Hernandez wound up only serving 33 months out of her original 30-year sentence before being released in February. 

This was due to an appeal before the Supreme Court who said that Hernandez should be released due the original conviction being based on prejudice and insufficient evidence. The acquittal was looked at as a huge victory for women’s rights not only in El Salvador but globally. 

“It was tough to be locked up, especially when I was innocent,” Hernandez said the day she was released. “There are others who are still locked up and I hope they are freed soon.”

Hernandez has maintained her innocence from the start that she had no knowledge of being pregnant. Now prosecutors are looking at a third trial to convict her of killing her newborn child. 

Credit: @marlasirens / Twitter

The attorney general is seeking to convict Hernandez of murder even after being released from prison. While many see Hernandez as the true victim in this ordeal, prosecutors see things differently.  

“As Attorney General of the Republic, we are responsible for the support and accompaniment of women victims in any crime and in any of its modalities, but, in the case of Evelyn Hernández, there are no elements to consider her a victim of any fact, on the contrary, the only victim is her son,” prosecutors said in a statement . “This appeal is the manifestation of the legal protection of … the life of a helpless being who depended absolutely on the care of his mother, who caused his death.”

Hernandez’s legal team is fighting back against these claims saying that the attempt at a retrial is a waste of resources that could be used to serve more important issues. 

“We expected this persecution against Evelyn to stop,” one of her lawyers, Elizabeth Deras, told BuzzFeed News. “Instead, they are spending the state’s resources unnecessarily. Resources that could be used to fight corruption.”

As of now, the request for a new trial must be assessed by a different court before it can proceed legally. The prosecution is looking to sentence Hernandez to 40 years in prison.  

READ: These Are Our Favorite Fast Foods You Can Get In Latin America But Not In The US, Dos Por Favor!