A rally for reproductive rights in Georgia. (photo: AP)
Lisa De Bode | Al Jazeera America | March 31, 2015
Purvi Patel is the first woman convicted under Indiana’s feticide law
n Indiana judge on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old woman, Purvi Patel, to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide and neglect of a dependent.
Patel is the first woman in Indiana to be convicted under the state’s feticide law. Activists say the case highlights the way that prosecutors across the U.S. are increasingly using laws designed to protect expecting mothers to criminalize women for terminating a pregnancy or allegedly harming an unborn child.
In 2013, Patel was arrested after seeking help in an emergency room for excessive bleeding, with an umbilical cord protruding from her vagina. She first told staff she hadn’t been pregnant but then revealed that she had given birth at her home in Granger, Indiana, according to court documents.
David Brooks. (photo: David Levene/Guardian UK)
Charles Pierce |Esquire | Reader Supported News | March 31, 2015
In which David Brooks would like gay people to lower their voices.
efore we deal with the well-mannered moral monster that is David Brooks, we should dispense with some of the WeaselSpeak that has attended Mike Pence’s successful attempt at killing his tourist economy. There is no doubt — none — that the law Pence signed is directly aimed at the rights of LGBT citizens — and specifically, at their right to get married. It isn’t about protecting the rights of the Amish in Decatur County to grow their beards, and it isn’t about allowing the remaining members of the Kickapoo Nation to use whatever they want in their religious rituals. It is about allowing people to discriminate against their fellow citizens in thousands of private transactions. The history of this bill begins almost to the day on which Indiana’s attempts to ban marriage equality failed in the courts. Its primary supporters admitted its real purpose right from jump.
Micah Clark of the American Family Association explained to The Indianapolis Star that the bill would allow small businesses to refuse services to same-sex couples and also that it would allow adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples. The Indiana Family Institute made an end-of-year fundraising pitch that promoted the legislation, noting examples of small businesses who were facing discrimination complaints from same-sex couples.
And, if its purpose was as anodyne as Pence now makes it out to be, and if Pence is as blindsided by the backlash as he’s now pretending to be, then why did he sign it in a secret ceremony in which he was surrounded by some of the state’s most serious professional homophobes?
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, questions witnesses during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration’s proposed authorization for the military campaign against Islamic State would let the U.S. ‘speak with a single powerful voice at this pivotal hour.’ Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Credit: Bloomberg / contributor
Paul Waldman | The American Prospect | March 31, 2015
If you’ve been watching Indiana Governor Mike Pence over the last few days as the “religious freedom” law he passed has been getting so much attention, you’ve noticed that there are many questions he really, really does not want to answer. He doesn’t want to get into specifics or hypotheticals, even when those specifics and hypotheticals—like what different type of discrimination might be allowed under this law—are absolutely vital to understanding it. But I was pleasantly surprised to see one Republican politician who was willing to get specific over this issue: Marco Rubio. Here he is appearing on Fox News’s “The Five”—the relevant portion begins at around 3:45:
I don’t happen to agree with Rubio on most of what he says, but at least he’s addressing it. Let’s break it down:
“No one here is saying that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or at a hotel because of their sexual orientation. I think that’s a consensus view in America.”
Actually, if you object to nondiscrimination laws that cover gay people, as most conservatives do, then you do think that it should be legal to deny someone service at a restaurant or a hotel because of their sexual orientation. That doesn’t mean you think it’s a good idea, but you do think it ought to be legal. But now we know that Rubio doesn’t feel that way, which is a good start. And it’s something that conservatives ought to be asked about, because they always fall back on “Well I don’t like discrimination, and I think it’s wrong.” But that’s not what we’re debating; we’re debating whether the law ought to prohibit it. Let’s move on:
Demonstrators gather at Monument Circle to protest a controversial religious freedom bill recently signed by Governor Mike Pence. (photo: Nate Chute/Reuters)
Fiona Ortiz | Reuters | Reader Supported News | Marc 31, 2015
ndiana Republicans pledged on Monday to clarify a new “religious freedom” law, while similar proposals stalled in Georgia and North Carolina after businesses and activists said such measures could be used to discriminate against gays.
Arkansas lawmakers, however, signaled they would move forward with their own bill, even after Indiana was rebuked by companies and executives including Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook, and Eli Lilly and Co.
Indiana’s law, signed by Governor Mike Pence last week, was perceived as going further than those passed in 19 other states, giving businesses a right to refuse services on religious grounds.
Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year following an appeals court ruling, and gay rights activists say Republicans pushed through the religious freedom act in response. The law was enacted months before an expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling over state bans on same-sex marriage.
For immediate release on March 31, 2015
For further information, contact:
Mayor Jeri Muoio
City of West Palm Beach
(561) 822-1400(561) 822-1400
Judge Rand Hoch (retired),
PBCHRC President and
Media Release West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio
places travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio places travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana
(West Palm Beach, Florida) — In the wake of Indiana’s passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio became the first mayor in Florida to place a travel ban on city-funded trips to Indiana.
“For more than two decades, West Palm Beach has been in the forefront, protecting the civil rights and ensuring equality for the LGBT community,” said Muoio. “Until Indiana’s discriminatory law is amended or repealed, West Palm Beach taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people.”
Mayor Muoio took this action at yesterday’s City Commission meeting at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local civil rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
“Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act sanctions outright discrimination against LGBT people,” said retired judge Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Human Rights Council. “We commend Mayor Muoio for putting her strong beliefs against bigotry into action by prohibiting taxpayer dollarsbeing used in Indiana.”
Similar travel bans have been put into place by states of Connecticut and Washington, as well as the cities of Portland, Seattle and San Francisco.
Muoio’s concern goes beyond the her own city.
“The U.S. Conference of Mayors is scheduled to meet in Indianapolis next year,” explained Muoio. “If Indiana’s law is not changed, I am going to ask the Conference to move the meeting to a more accepting locale.”