• This week Mississippi joined Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas in passing 20 week abortion bans. Governor Phil Bryant said about the ban, which takes effect in July, “Today is an important day for protecting the unborn and the health and safety of women in Mississippi." Ugh. [Reuters]
• In more collegiate news, a group of graduate student workers in the University of California system have made a huge advance in their fight for gender neutral restrooms and lactation stations on campus. The group has reached a tentative contract agreement that calls access to such facilities a “right.” If the contract is completed it would mean that students, faculty members, and employees on all UC campuses would be required access to these facilities. [Slate]
• Two members of Pussy Riot were attacked by a group of men while eating breakfast at a McDonalds. Video was captured of the men shooting paint into thier faces while they shouted "Go to America!" [Guardian]
Clear Channel is a behemoth—the media conglomerate owns 850 radio stations, making them the gatekeeper of mainstream radio airwaves across much of the country. And this week, the company is being a total douchebag.
The crime? Refusing to run ads for the South Wind Women's Center, a full-spectrum reproductive healthcare clinic in Witchita, Kansas that opened this year in the space that was Doctor George Tiller's clinic before he was murdered. Clear Channel says the Kansas clinic's ads violate the company's "decency standards."
You might have missed it earlier this week because you were doing something more important with your time—like Jazzercising, or building a tiny city out of Triscuit crackers and cream cheese, or watching some kind of filibuster—but some conservative strategists have decided that, in order to court those darned Millennials who failed to elect Romeny in 2012, they are going to have to start talking to them on their terms.
While I never thought I'd be declaring someone who doesn't like Bart Stupak anything but a friend, Randy Neugebauer's "baby killer" accusation this Monday on the House floor to Stupak earns him a raging douchebag award, which he gets to share with Senators Stupak and Nelson, and the Tea Party brigade.
Word came yesterday: The University of Notre Dame has hired Brian Kelly away from the University of Cincinnati to be its new football coach. Kelly, a pro-choice Catholic with extraordinary coaching skill and success, takes the job just six months after the a strong segment of the Notre Dame community protested President Obama's commencement address at the premiere Catholic university, citing Obama's pro-choice beliefs as its point of discontent.
The healthcare debate this week has certainly been a lot of fingerpointing. In an effort to quash false rumors surrounding Obama's new healthcare plan (please let's never discuss the phrase "death panels" again), the White House went so far as to launch a "reality check" website. But one issue that's missing from the White House site is abortion. Despite the lack of an official White House debunk, the public dialogue on abortion has been just as packed with misinformation and exaggeration as the rest of the national conversation about healthcare reform.
That idea is aided by misleading statements from mainstream politicians. Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) penned a piece in the National Review spelling out his take on Obama's healthcare plan:
"Fact: The bill as currently written will allow the federal government to classify abortion as an "essential benefit" — a health-care right that would be guaranteed to all Americans. This will make it illegal for health-care providers nationwide — even Catholic and religious-based hospitals with missions that reflect a fundamental moral objection to the killing of the unborn — to provide anything less than abortion on demand for anyone who seeks it."
But when the Denver Post ran a health care fact check, they showed that Boehner's "fact" is actually false. The Post explains that Obama's current health care plan does not override the federal law that bans Medicaid from paying for abortions except in cases involving rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. An amendment pushed by Lois Capps (D-CA) allows public and private healthcare plans to cover abortions in other cases, but they can't use federal dollars.