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.

Credit: @zeroultra4 / Twitter

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.

Credit: @gomezb1013 / Twitter

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

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Diego Luna’s ‘Pan Y Circo’ Is Tackling Major Issues Around The Dinner Table

Culture

Diego Luna’s ‘Pan Y Circo’ Is Tackling Major Issues Around The Dinner Table

Rich Polk / Getty Images for IMDb

Diego Luna is more than just an actor. Luna is using his name and his fame to create a space for important ideas to be discussed. His new show “Pan Y Circo” on Amazon Prime is tackling the major issues.

Diego Luna’s “Pan y Circo” is an in-your-face show tackling major issues confronting society.

“Pan y Circo” is a new Amazon Prime show created by Mexican actor Diego Luna. The actor has a table of people including politicians, activists, and entertainers. The first episode focuses on race, a topic that is seeing some global attention following recent events. The discussion got frank with Luna admitting that he has benefited from the system as it stood.

The dinner party atmosphere is something that we can relate to further drawing us into the conversation.

For Luna, according to the LA Times, the dinner conversations are a cal back to a tie when these kinds of hard discussions happened over dinner. This was a time when these kinds of conversations were taken for granted because they were so common that it was normal.

The topics are going to be tough for many in the Latino community because they are so frank.

Abortion is one of the most taboo conversations in the Latino community. The topic is something the divides the Latino community, most commonly on generational lines. Luna’s decision to take this conversation to the mainstream is a major moment for the Latino community.

The first episode of “Pan y Circo” is out now on Amazon.

The next episode will be out on Friday, August 14.

READ: Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

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Evelyn Hernandez – A Rape Survivor – Was Imprisoned Under Anti-Abortion Laws, Now She’s A Free Woman

Things That Matter

Evelyn Hernandez – A Rape Survivor – Was Imprisoned Under Anti-Abortion Laws, Now She’s A Free Woman

Oscar Rivera / Getty Images

It’s no secret that countries across Latin America have some of the strictest abortion laws in the world – El Salvador is no exception. In fact, it’s the only known country that that regularly prosecutes and imprisons women as a result of its abortion ban – even in cases where the women suffered  miscarriages, stillbirths and other obstetric emergencies.

But over the last decade, activists, lawyers, and international women’s groups have rallied behind Salvadoran women imprisoned for “obstetric emergencies.” Since 2009, more than 38 women have been released from jail, 16 remain incarcerated, and at least three — including Evelyn Hernandez — are in the middle of legal proceedings.

Evelyn Hernandez, of El Salvador, has been found innocent after a retrial.

Evelyn Hernandez’s case had made international headlines when she was tried for homicide charges after experiencing a stillbirth – when she didn’t even know she was pregnant.

But after years of maintains her innocence of any wrongdoing, Hernandez has finally been found innocent by El Salvador’s judicial system.

“I was made the victim of a justice system that is anything but just. I know that there are countless other women who have experienced the same in a country where miscarriages are still considered a crime and reproductive rights are nonexistent. We must stand up and demand that the Salvadoran government release all the remaining women who have been wrongfully put behind bars like me. The fight does not end here,” Hernandez said after the trial.

Her defense attorney added in a tweet, “I am about to explode with happiness.”

Amnesty International described the verdict as a “resounding victory for the rights of women in El Salvador” and called on the government to “end the shameful and discriminatory practice of criminalizing women”.

El Salvador has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world.

Since 1998, El Salvador has had a complete and total ban on abortion – with zero exceptions – including in cases where the woman’s life is at risk for the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. In fact, El Salavador is the only known country that regularly prosecutes and imprisons women as a result of its abortion ban – even in cases where the women suffered  miscarriages, stillbirths and other obstetric emergencies.

Typically, women found guilty face between two and eight years in jail but in many cases – as was the case with Evelyn – charges are increased to aggravate homicide, which carries a minimum sentence of 30 years.

Today, more than 20 women are in prison under trumped up charges of manslaughter, homicide, or aggravated homicide after being accused of having an abortion. In total, at least 50 women have been imprisoned.

Evelyn’s case had been in the headlines for years after repeated appeals by prosecutors.

Evelyn’s case started when she was a victim of sexual violence in her community – having allegedly been raped by a gang member at 18-years-old.

She was first arrested after the body of her baby was found on the property of her rural home. Evelyn says she had experienced severe stomach pains and bleeding and went to the toilet, where she passed out. It’s here where her baby was stillborn. But in 2017, a judge ruled that Evelyn knew she was pregnant and tried to conceal the baby’s birth. She was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison, of which she has already served 33 months.

In July 2017, the judge ruled that Ms Hernández knew she was pregnant and found her guilty. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison of which she has already served 33 months.

Evelyn’s lawyers appealed the judge’s decision. They said forensic tests showed that the baby had died of meconium aspiration, inhaling his own stool. This can happen while the baby is still in the uterus, during delivery or immediately after birth. 

The lawyers said the test proved that Evelyn had not tried to abort the baby but that it had died of natural causes. “There is no crime,” defense lawyer Bertha María Deleón said during oral arguments. In 2019, the country’s Supreme Court agreed and annulled Evelyn’s 2017 conviction and ordered a retrial with a new judge.

Evelyn’s case could have a major impact on several other women across the country accused of similar crimes.

Credit: Oscar Rivera / Getty Images

According to human rights experts, there are at least 17 other women who have been jailed under the country’s strict abortion laws. Campaigners have successfully managed to free about 30 other women over the last decade  – after winning hard-fought court cases.

Evelyn’s retrial is the first case to be heard under new President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June, and women’s groups are hoping he could usher in a more lenient stance on the issue. 

President Bukele has said that he opposes abortion but has expressed sympathy with women suffering miscarriages who then come under suspicion.

“If a poor woman suffers a miscarriage, she’s immediately suspected of having had an abortion. That’s where the issue of social inequality comes into play,” he said while he was running for president.

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