Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Last Call For The Road To Gilead

Here in Cincinnati, the last abortion clinic in southwest Ohio remains open thanks to a judge and an injunction preventing Ohio from denying licenses to clinics arbitrarily.  In Missouri, the state is down to one clinic in St. Louis, and the license for that facility expires at the end of the month.

The last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri says it expects to be shut down this week, effectively ending legal abortion in the state.

In a statement to be released later Tuesday, Planned Parenthood said Missouri's health department is "refusing to renew" its annual license to provide abortion in the state. If the license is not renewed by May 31, Missouri would become the first state without a functioning abortion clinic since 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided.
Planned Parenthood would still be able to provide non-abortion health services for women in Missouri.

Planned Parenthood said it plans to sue the state "in order to try to keep serving Missouri women."

"This is not a drill. This is not a warning. This is a real public health crisis," said Dr. Leana Wen, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

A call and email to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services were not immediately returned.

Representatives for Planned Parenthood told CBS News that the upcoming deadline follows weeks of back-and-forth with state health officials.

On May 20, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services notified Planned Parenthood of three issues that could impact license renewal, according to documents reviewed by CBS News and provided by Planned Parenthood.

On May 22, Planned Parenthood said it would address two of them: adjusting who at the clinic provided the state-mandated counseling and adding an additional pelvic exam for abortion patients.

But it said a third request was out of its control. According to Planned Parenthood, the health department said it was investigating "deficient practices," and needed to interview seven physicians who provide care at the clinic. Planned Parenthood said it could offer interviews only with two who are its employees. The remaining physicians provide services at the facility but aren't employed by Planned Parenthood and have not agreed to be interviewed.

In its letter, the Department of Health wrote that it could not "complete our investigation until it interviews the physicians involved in the care provided in the potential deficient practices," and that "the investigation needs to be completed and any deficiencies resolved before the expiration of [the clinic's] license on May 31, 2019.

So-called "Targeted Regulation of Abortion Practices" laws or TRAP laws like this have been the favored weapon of the anti-choice, anti-women crowd for the last decade or so.  Regulating abortion clinics out of existence with impossible and arbitrary rules for operation has been stopped before by the Supreme Court in Texas and several other states, but that was before Justice Kennedy was replaced by Brett Kavanaugh.

We'll see if Planned Parenthood can prevail here, but the clock on Missouri's women is running out.
Meanwhile, we got the first decision on abortion from SCOTUS today blocking Indiana's ludicrous "selective eugenics" law.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked an Indiana law barring abortions based on a fetus' sex, race or disability, while allowing a separate state measure requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated to take effect.

The justices declined to review a lower court's decision overturning a law restricting when and why an abortion could be performed. Vice President Mike Pence signed the measure into law in 2016 when he was Indiana governor, and it was blocked by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year.

That case is the latest abortion challenge the Supreme Court's new conservative majority has passed up. However, it doesn’t indicate whether the court will eventually take up a challenge to Roe v. Wade, as a spate of conservative states including Alabama, Georgia and Missouri approve laws meant to directly challenge the 1973 ruling legalizing abortion nationwide.

In an unsigned opinion, the justices wrote that the state has a "legitimate interest" in the disposal of fetal remains. They reversed the 7th Circuit decision blocking that provision, reinstating Indiana's measure without first holding a hearing.
Indiana argued the prevalence of prenatal screening has led many women to opt for abortion when fetal abnormalities like Down syndrome are detected. Supporters of abortion rights said the law was unconstitutionally intrusive, defying Supreme Court precedent protecting a woman's right for an abortion until the fetus is viable outside of the womb, generally considered to be around 24 weeks.

"A woman, not the legislature, gets to decide whether an abortion is the right decision for her and her family," said Ken Falk, legal director with the ACLU of Indiana, who represented Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky in the case.

Although Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the court's decision to refuse the case, he wrote in a fiery concurring opinion that the justices may eventually consider the constitutionality of similar laws.
"Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the Court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s. But because further percolation may assist our review of this issue of first impression, I join the Court in declining to take up the issue now," he wrote. 

Justice Thomas just posted a major signpost on the road to Gilead.  If the Supreme Court considers abortion itself to be eugenics, that would not only leave the door open to end abortion in the entire country, but to end birth control as well.

And yes, the Indiana law requiring cremation of fetal remains brings us one TRAP law closer to bankrupting clinics in the state.

Indiana's law won't be the decision that ends Roe, but it's coming.  Justice Thomas is all but promising it.

They Fought The Law And The Law's Gone

The lawless Trump regime rolls on, with rank and file regime bureaucrats now openly thumbing their noses at laws they have no intention of following, will never be prosecuted for, and will get away with breaking repeatedly.

Lynne Patton, a regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, wrote last week that she may have broken a federal law meant to prevent officials from politicizing their government positions, but said that even if that were the case, she “honestly” didn’t care.

“Just retweeted this amazing tweet from both of my Twitter accounts — professional and personal,” Patton wrote on Facebook last week, pointing to a message that championed her boss, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, but was critical of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “It may be a Hatch Act violation. It may not be.”

“Either way,” she continued, “I honestly don’t care anymore.”

The 1939 Hatch Act prohibits officials working in the executive branch from using their “official authority for political purposes” and is meant to prevent “federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity,” according to the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Many members within the Trump administration have run afoul of the law before, and last November, six White House officials were reprimanded for using their social media accounts in violation of the Hatch Act.

Patton, who is paid an annual salary of $161,900, according to 2017 figures, is tasked with overseeing one of HUD’s largest regions with a budget in the billions of dollars. But when someone pointed out her potential lawbreaking, Patton doubled down on Sunday evening, mocking those critical of her as “lazy internet parrots” and “liberal snowflakes” on her personal Twitter account.

Patton is actually under investigation for previous possible Hatch Act violations, but no punishment has been meted out so far, and it's unlikely any will. She knows she's a good friend of the Trump family, and that's all that matters.

We've now reached the point where Republicans openly mock the rest of us because they know there will be no consequences.

GOP senators say that if the House passes articles of impeachment against President Trump they will quickly quash them in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has broad authority to set the parameters of a trial.

While McConnell is required to act on articles of impeachment, which require 67 votes — or a two-thirds majority — to convict the president, he and his Republican colleagues have the power to set the rules and ensure the briefest of trials.

“I think it would be disposed of very quickly,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

“If it’s based on the Mueller report, or anything like that, it would be quickly disposed of,” he added.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), an adviser to McConnell’s leadership team, said “nothing” would come of impeachment articles passed by the House.

Given the Senate GOP firewall, Cornyn, who’s also a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he doubts that Democrats will commence the impeachment process.

“It would be defeated. That’s why all they want to do is talk about it,” he said. “They know what the outcome would be.”

Rule of law no longer exists in America.  Not for the Trump regime, anyway.

Climate Of Destruction, Con't

The Trump regime is simply going to stop publishing the results of global warming work in an effort to finish off climate science in America permanently.

President Trump has rolled back environmental regulations, pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord, brushed aside dire predictions about the effects of climate change, and turned the term “global warming” into a punch line rather than a prognosis.

Now, after two years spent unraveling the policies of his predecessors, Mr. Trump and his political appointees are launching a new assault.

In the next few months, the White House will complete the rollback of the most significant federal effort to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, initiated during the Obama administration. It will expand its efforts to impose Mr. Trump’s hard-line views on other nations, building on his retreat from the Paris accord and his recent refusal to sign a communiqué to protect the rapidly melting Arctic region unless it was stripped of any references to climate change.

And, in what could be Mr. Trump’s most consequential action yet, his administration will seek to undermine the very science on which climate change policy rests.

Mr. Trump is less an ideologue than an armchair naysayer about climate change, according to people who know him. He came into office viewing agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency as bastions of what he calls the “deep state,” and his contempt for their past work on the issue is an animating factor in trying to force them to abandon key aspects of the methodology they use to try to understand the causes and consequences of a dangerously warming planet.

As a result, parts of the federal government will no longer fulfill what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.

The attack on science is underway throughout the government
. In the most recent example, the White House-appointed director of the United States Geological Survey, James Reilly, a former astronaut and petroleum geologist, has ordered that scientific assessments produced by that office use only computer-generated climate models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century, as had been done previously.

Scientists say that would give a misleading picture because the biggest effects of current emissions will be felt after 2040. Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions.

The administration’s prime target has been the National Climate Assessment, produced by an interagency task force roughly every four years since 2000. Government scientists used computer-generated models in their most recent report to project that if fossil fuel emissions continue unchecked, the earth’s atmosphere could warm by as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That would lead to drastically higher sea levels, more devastating storms and droughts, crop failures, food losses and severe health consequences.

Work on the next report, which is expected to be released in 2021 or 2022, has already begun. But from now on, officials said, such worst-case scenario projections will not automatically be included in the National Climate Assessment or in some other scientific reports produced by the government.

“What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science — to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics,” said Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment. “It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”

And so the projections into the future will simply cease.  It will be somebody else's problem.  Not the Trump regime's problem though.

But it will still be America's problem.

And the world's.


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