Posts tagged "Alabama"

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Over the past several years, state legislatures have enacted a record-breaking number of abortion restrictions. That pace hasn’t abated during this year’s legislative sessions, as lawmakers are rushing to pass measures to shut down abortion clinics and create additional red tape for women seeking abortions. But even though the assault on reproductive rights has been steadily gaining ground, there’s one type of restriction that hasn’t been able to win enough support, even among some anti-choice Republicans.

So-called “fetal heartbeat bills,” a radical proposal to cut off legal abortion services at just six weeks — before many women even realize they’re pregnant — are failing in states across the country. Although the far-right abortion opponents who push six-week bans claim that the procedure should be outlawed after a fetal heartbeat can first be detected, they can’t always get their other colleagues to sign onto the effort.

Last year, North Dakota and Alabama became the first states in the country to pass abortion restrictions banning the procedure after the detection of fetal heartbeat (although Arkansas’ ended up being amended to a 12-week ban). Perhaps observing that those two laws have both been blocked from taking effect because they blatantly violate Roe v. Wade, at least five state legislatures have declined to advance fetal heartbeat bans so far this year:

ALABAMA: Lawmakers in Alabama introduced a package of several anti-abortion restrictions, including a six-week abortion ban, on the same day in February. The legislature rushed to approve two of those measures before the state’s session came to a close this week, but the Senate didn’t take up the heartbeat ban. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) said he’s waiting to see how the legal challenges to six-week bans in other states before Alabama passes its own version “and spends dollars we don’t have as a state.” The lawmaker who introduced the bill said she’s “very, very disappointed” that the legislature “didn’t have the fortitude” to approve it anyway.

MISSISSIPPI: Mississippi has been trying and failing to enact a heartbeat ban for several years in a row. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has already indicated that he’s eager to sign one. “It would tell that mother, ‘Your child has a heartbeat,’” he told supporters at an anti-abortion event last year. But so far, this bill has repeatedly failed to make it out of committee. The state recently passed a 20-week abortion ban, but the heartbeat bill — which would have banned abortion at 12 weeks, like the one in Arkansas — remains a step too far.

KANSAS: Top Republican lawmakers in Kansas have decided to block a six-week abortion ban this year because they’re not interested in provoking a legal fight. Even though the legislature has strong GOP majorities, the politicians there are taking their cues from Kansans for Life, the most influential anti-choice group in the state. Kansans for Life doesn’t support the proposed fetal heartbeat ban because they’re nervous that a court battle would end up striking it down. “We’re just being cautious,” House Majority Leader Jene Vickrey (R) explained when asked why the legislature hasn’t scheduled a vote on the measure.

KENTUCKY: A fetal heartbeat measure was introduced again in Kentucky this session, after failing to advance last year, but abortion opponents haven’t had much luck this time around either. The measure is currently stalled in committee with little chance of passing. Pro-choice Kentucky lawmakers have been able to successfully block proposed abortion restrictions for several years in a row, so there’s little chance that a radical six-week abortion ban will make it through.

OHIO: Republicans in Ohio have long been divided over whether to adopt an aggressive anti-abortion strategy, and attempt to enact a harsh fetal heartbeat ban, or take a more subtle and incremental approach to chipping away at reproductive rights. This split has prevented the state from approving a six-week ban for the past several years, although it continues to be re-introduced. Senate President Keith Faber (R) says he won’t schedule a vote on the measure this session because he’s worried it will trigger a court challenge.

Indeed, legal battles over unconstitutional abortion restrictions come with a cost. North Dakota is gearing up to spend at least $600,000 to defend its stringent anti-abortion laws in court, while Kansas and Idaho have both accumulated legal fees in this area that top one million dollars.

In general, abortion opponents haven’t decided whether it’s better to continue gradually chipping away Roe v. Wade piece by piece, or whether it’s necessary to take a bold stance to ban nearly all abortions. So far, feuds over this divide are bubbling to the surface in political races in Georgia and Kentucky. And some Republicans will need to adopt a particularly hardline stance against abortion if they want to court support from thecountry’s major anti-choice groups before the upcoming presidential primaries.

But so far, anti-choice lawmakers have actually had more success with the first, incremental strategy. That’s largely because radical restrictions like six-week bans, which are obviously extreme on their face, tend to capture headlines and spark outrage — while more subtle efforts to undermine abortion rights are able to slip under the radar.

h/t: Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress Health

h/t: TPM Livewire

Alabama’s state board of education delayed an approval vote on 12 middle school history textbooks last week after the anti-Muslim groups Eagle Forum of Alabama and ACT! For America claimed that the books promoted Islam over Christianity.

The Anniston Star reported that ACT’s Larry Houck found it an “insult” that the books said that “Jesus walked on the earth teaching his ideas”:

The board had planned to hear recommendations from a state committee that has spent months looking at possible textbooks for use in social studies classes. Superintendent Tommy Bice asked for a postponement after the groups Eagle Forum and ACT for America complained of alleged pro-Muslim and anti-Christian bias in 12 of the textbooks, all of which were produced by major textbook publishers. Most of the disputed textbooks were for seventh, eighth and ninth grades.

Larry Houck, president of ACT for America, said the books’ passages on Christianity implied doubt about the divinity of Jesus.

"They said ‘Jesus walked the earth teaching his ideas,’" Houck said. "That’s just an insult."

Bice described the objections as “last-minute,” and said the board needs time to consider them. School officials supplied The Star with a packet of textbook reviews supplied by ACT for America and Eagle Forum, which was dated Dec. 4.

According to AL.com, Houck wrote in a letter to the school board that sections of the textbooks devoted to Islam had “more and better pictures” than those devoted to other religions, which he described as part of, in the words of the paper, “a non-violent Jihad in America that relies [on] Islamic influence over textbook publishers.”  

Specific concerns raised by the groups in a letter sent Dec. 4 to school board members included that the books under reported the positive impacts of Christianity and failed to accurately represent the spread of Islam through violence.

"Islam was spread by the sword in most every case. The Muslims have killed millions in their 1,400-year history and enslaved millions more," wrote Larry Houck, the founder of ACT! for America’s Birmingham chapter.

Houck said after the meeting he has been researching Islam since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and his goal is to tell Americans “what’s really going on,” describing a non-violent Jihad in America that relies Islamic influence over textbook publishers.

He also complained that the books dedicated more space to Islam and that sections on Islam usually have more and better photographs when compared to sections on Christianity and Judaism.

"Why is so much text devoted to Islam? It appears to be deliberate efforts to proselytize for Islam and this is dangerous for our younger generations?" Houck wrote to the school board.

AL.com provides a list of the challenged books, all of which are from major, mainstream textbook publishers. But many of them were included in a “report” that ACT released last year arguing that “the typical treatment of Islam” in the books “amounts more to indoctrination than to education.”

It’s not the first time ACT has led this kind of campaign. This summer, ACT convinced the school board of Brevard County, Florida, that its history textbooks were “flawed and biased on the subject of Islam.” In response, the board convened a “committee to provide supplemental material to counter-balance the textbook errors”…and invited an ACT! for America member to join the committee.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

politicsnation:

New restrictions have been popping up in states across the south since the Voting Rights Act was essentially gutted last month.

It’s one more reason why the right to vote needs to be protected: http://on.msnbc.com/17iLp32

Which state are you most concerned about?

(via recall-all-republicans)

Maps featuring Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin regarding how many clinics will close down in the states affected. 

Three of those mentioned were won by Obama both times (Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia) and a fourth (North Carolina) was won by Obama in 2008, then Romney in 2012.

The Alabama legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that will heavily restrict abortion, potentially shutting down all five of the state’s abortion clinics. The state House and Senate passed the bill by votes of 68-21 and 22-10 respectively, and Governor Bentley is expected to sign it soon.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, argued in February that this new law was necessary to protect women because “abortion removes the largest organ in a woman’s body.” 

That comment was neither scientifically accurate nor did it explain what Alabama’s Women’s Health and Safety Act is designed to do, so here it is: The bill, which copies legislation passed in Mississippi in 2012, mandates that doctors at abortion clinics have admitting privileges at local hospitals. This gives local hospitals the leeway to flat-out deny doctors these privileges. The doctors at Mississippi’s last abortion clinic, for instance, were rejected at all seven hospitals they approached for admitting privileges.

Williams says she expects women’s rights advocates in Alabama will also head to court to try and keep the state’s last few clinics open.

h/t: Mother Jones

pbsthisdayinhistory:

March 21, 1965: Civil Rights Demonstrators Begin March to Montgomery, Alabama

On this day in 1965, two weeks after “Bloody Sunday,” civil rights demonstrators began their third attempt to march to Montgomery, Alabama from Selma. The march’s purpose was to denounce unfair state laws and local violence that kept African Americans from voting.

On March 25, 25,000 marchers arrive at the State Capitol building in Montgomery. Soon afterward, the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, forcing states to end discriminatory voting practices.

Visit American Experience’s Eyes on the Prize site to explore the milestones of the Civil Rights Movement.

Photo: Participants marching in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. (Library of Congress)

(via truth-has-a-liberal-bias)

quickhits:

Montgomery, AL police chief apologizes for his department’s appalling civil rights history.

Raw Story:

Rep. John Lewis (R-GA) was moved to tears on Saturday by an apology from a police chief in Montgomery, Alabama, who said his department utterly failed to protect civil rights marchers as they disembarked from a Grayhound bus into a segregated terminal in 1961.

Lewis was one of 21 protesters who stepped off that bus and into an angry melee as more than 300 white southerners attacked the group with baseball bats and other blunt objects. Despite an order by U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy to protect these so-called “Freedom Riders,” police backed off in Montgomery and let the mob have its way.

Appearing with Lewis on Saturday after a symbolic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge near Selma, Alabama — where 600 civil rights marchers were brutally attacked by police in 1965 — Montgomery Chief of Police Kevin Murphy formally apologized for the bus terminal incident and presented Lewis with his badge.

“It means a great deal,” Lewis said, according to MSNBC. “I teared up. I tried to keep from crying.”

it pays to point out that Chief Murphy was in no way responsible for what his predecessors did in ‘65. Yet he apologized anyway. And there’s a lesson here for anyone who’s ever argued “I didn’t do ____, that happened a long time ago. Why should I be held responsible for ____?”

They’re not being held responsible for the act, they’re being held responsible for the consequence. America’s history of slavery, segregation, and racism has left this a profoundly unequal society and that inequality benefits whites. You may not be responsible for the crimes of the past, but you benefit from them — whether those crimes are slavery or Native American genocide or the conquest of Mexican lands or any of a raft of other crimes. No one’s asking anyone to give anything back. No one’s asking anyone to be punished for anything. All that’s being asked is that people acknowledge a simple fact — that they would not be where they are today if it weren’t for the crimes of their forebears and that many of the privileges they take for granted come at the expense others who were less fortunate in the parentage sweepstakes.

It’s about looking at the world with a measure of realism and recognizing that history influences all of our lives, for good or for bad,

(via silas216)

Republican lawmakers in Alabama took a crucial step on Wednesday towards their goal of shuttering the state’s last five abortion clinics, advancing a bill to the full house that would impose strict requirements on abortion providers.

The bill, the so-called “Women’s Health and Safety Act,” passed the Republican-controlled House Health Committee on Wednesday morning, and could come to vote in the full legislature as soon as Thursday. If passed, it would require clinics to meet certain architectural standards and have a physician present for all abortions — a provision Republicans claim is for the safety of patients, but is in fact a smokescreen designed to make compliance as difficult as possible.

Among the staffing concerns is a provision which states that only a licensed physician with admitting privileges to a hospital within the same metropolitan area as the clinic be allowed to administer abortion-inducing drugs.The end result — much to the delight of the anti-choice lawmakers who propose these bills — is that clinics fall out of compliance and are forced to close or end their abortion services.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

High School Football “Coach of the Year” Caught On Tape Making Homophobic Remarks And Calling First Lady Michelle Obama A “Big, Fat Gorilla” [TW: Anti-Gay Bigotry, Homophobia, Racism]

The head football coach at Lauderdale County High School in Alabama gave a number of students a lesson in bigotry recently when he expressed his distaste for “queers” and “big fat gorilla” Michelle Obama in the same breath.

Coach Bob Grisham, who also teaches psychology and driver’s ed at the school, was caught on tape ranting about the cafeteria’s “600-calorie” lunches, blaming them on “fat butt Michelle Obama.”

He went on to call the First Lady a “big fat gorilla.”

“Our country is going in the wrong direction, you’d better be aware of it,” Grisham told his students. “And people running around like, oh it’ll get better, it’ll get better. No, it ain’t gone get no better until things change.”

Apparently unaware that “it gets better” is the slogan of a campaign aimed at gay teens who are bullied because of their sexuality, Grisham prods students to “call the superintendent and tell her” that “I don’t like queers.”

“I don’t hate them as a person but what they do is wrong, it’s an abomination against God,” he continues. “I don’t like being around queers.”

Word did eventually reach Superintendent Jennifer Gray, who told the TimesDaily that an investigation into the remarks had been launched.

Reached for comment, Grisham told the TimesDaily that he “misspoke in a debate-type situation,” adding that he has “no hatred toward anyone or any group,” and “people that know my heart” know that.

But the Huntsville-based GLBT Advocacy and Youth Services isn’t convinced, calling for Grisham to resign or be fired.

Incidentally, the TimesDaily named Grisham “Coach of the Year” just a few weeks ago.

[video via WAFF] [Gawker]

sarahlee310:

WKRG-TV managed to track down Derrick Belcher, the man responsible for the petition calling for Alabama’s secession.

Gawker noted on Thursday that the 45-year-old trucking company manager was really just upset because his Euro Details topless car wash had been shut down by the government.

But according to Al.com, it was the Mobile city government — not the federal government — that arrested Belcher and charged him with obscenity after the state of Alabama enacted an anti-obscenity law in 1998.

“The government ripped my business away, and now they’re choking America to death with rules and regulations,” the secessionist explained.

Another Teabagger who skipped civics class.