Thursday, June 22, 2023

Last Call For The Road To Gilead, Con't

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll of OBGYN doctors and healthcare in America, one year after the Supreme Court ended Roe v. Wade, shows that the availability, quality, and outcomes of women's healthcare in America have fallen off a cliff.
Sweeping restrictions and even outright abortion bans adopted by states in the year since the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling have had an overwhelmingly negative effect on maternal health care, according to a survey of OBGYNs released Wednesday that provides one of the clearest views yet of how the U.S. Supreme Court decision has affected women’s health care in the United States.

The poll by the health research nonprofit KFF reveals that the Dobbs ruling — which ended federal protection on the right to abortion — affected maternal mortality and how pregnancy-related medical emergencies are managed, precipitated a rise in requests for sterilization and has done much more than restrict abortion access. Many OBGYNs said it has also made their jobs more difficult and legally perilous than before, while leading to worse outcomes for patients.

The findings are the first nationally representative survey of OBGYNs since the Dobbs ruling, after which at least 15 states now ban abortion outright or within a few weeks of conception.

Nearly 7 in 10, or 68 percent of OBGYNs, said the effects of Dobbs have made the management of pregnancy-related medical emergencies worse, while 64 percent said the ruling has worsened pregnancy-related mortality. The poll, conducted between March 17 and May 18, collected responses from a random sample of 569 board-certified OBGYNs across the country who provide sexual and reproductive health care to patients in office-based settings.

The striking responses come as the number of Americans who die while giving birth — or in the weeks after — has been on the rise since 2018, from 658 that year to 1,205 in 2021, according to a March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data from 2022 has not yet been released.

The responses were even grimmer regarding the already stark racial and ethnic inequities in maternal health care: 70 percent of OBGYNs said Dobbs has widened that gap. Black women are already twice as likely to suffer serious complications during pregnancy and are three times as likely to die as women of other races.

Some of the earliest signs of the impact of Dobbs on women’s health were evident within weeks of the ruling. Patients with emergencies such as miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies and other complications were confronted with a maze of delays or denials of care as providers were mired in confusion over swiftly changing restrictions.

The Washington Post reported on several such instances last July, including on a Wisconsin woman who experienced an incomplete miscarriage and bled for more than 10 days after emergency room staff refused to remove the fetal tissue amid confusion over restrictions. At a hospital in Kansas City, Mo., administrators temporarily required “pharmacist approval” before dispensing medications used to stop postpartum hemorrhages because those drugs can also be used for abortions.

In the months since, those challenges have not abated. In the KFF poll, 40 percent of OBGYNs in states where abortion is banned said they have personally experienced “constraints on management of miscarriages,” while 37 percent reported constraints on management of pregnancy-related medical emergencies.

When the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to abortion, between 50 and 60 percent of Americans wanted the right to stay in place. But while abortion was legal throughout the country up to a certain point in pregnancy, Americans had the luxury of not having strong or cohesive views on the topic, or thinking much about abortion at all. Their views were messy and sometimes contradictory, and there was little evidence suggesting that the issue was a political priority for anyone except Christian conservatives. In the fall of 2021, with the Dobbs case looming on the horizon, many Americans thought that Roe wasn’t in real danger.

Now, a FiveThirtyEight analysis finds that after one of the most disruptive Supreme Court decisions in generations, many Americans — including women, young people, and Democrats — are reporting more liberal views on abortion than major pollsters have seen in years. Even conservatives, although the changes are slight, are increasingly supportive of abortion rights. There are other signs that longstanding views are shifting: For instance, Americans are more open to the idea of unrestricted third-trimester abortion than they were even a year ago. And although it’s hard to predict what will shape upcoming elections, there are indications that abortion has the potential to be a major motivator for some Americans when they go to vote in 2024.

Even before last summer, there was some evidence that Americans’ views were getting slightly more liberal on abortion, driven mainly by Democrats who were increasingly likely to say that abortion should be legal (and also more likely to prioritize the issue politically). But when asked about their opinions, most chose a middle-ground option that allowed for abortions in at least some cases, and their ambivalence about the issue was clearly visible in other questions. Legal abortion was consistently much more popular in the first trimester than later in pregnancy. Majorities of Americans were simultaneously OK with some restrictions on abortion access, while saying they wanted women to obtain legal abortion in their own communities, without pressure to change their mind.

But over the past couple years, views have shifted. FiveThirtyEight gathered every poll that asked a standard question about abortion — whether it should be legal in all cases, legal in some cases, illegal in some cases, or illegal in all cases — since September 2021, and found that the share of American adults who want abortion to be legal in at least some cases is rising, and the share of Americans who want abortion to be illegal in all cases is falling.
That's because abortion rights affect everyone

Everyone who votes and doesn't vote has a stake.

You should choose the former.

Vote Like Your Country Depends On It, Con't

Georgia officials have finally cleared the two Black women election officials in Fulton County that Donald Trump accused of election fraud, finding no evidence that either woman committed any wrongdoing in 2020.
State officials have formally dismissed two high-profile claims of election fraud stemming from the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Investigators found no wrongdoing in a complaint against two Fulton County election workers whose lives were upended when former President Donald Trump falsely accused them of fraud. In a separate complaint, they also found no evidence of “pristine ballots” that fueled suspicions of election fraud.

The conclusions in the final investigation reports echo what the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office has been saying for two years and a half years – that it found no evidence to support allegations of rampant fraud in these and other cases. But the State Election Board formally dismissed both complaints Tuesday, bringing to a close investigations of some of Trump’s most sensational claims.

The first case involved allegations of election fraud against Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, the mother and daughter captured in an infamous video from State Farm Arena on election night. Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani played portions of the video to Georgia lawmakers in December 2020, claiming it was “smoking gun” evidence of election fraud.

It wasn’t. Investigators from the FBI, the GBI and the secretary of state’s office interviewed election workers and reviewed hours of video. They determined the video showed normal ballot counting.

What’s more, the FBI interviewed the person who created a fake Instagram account that appeared to contain a post by Freeman admitting she conspired to influence the election results. The creator of the account confirmed the content was fake.

“All allegations made against Freeman and Moss were unsubstantiated and found to have no merit,” the investigation report concluded.

Freeman and Moss endured death threats and other harassment because of the false claims. They have filed defamation lawsuits against people and organizations that spread the allegations and have already recovered a settlement from One America News Network. Lawsuits against Giuliani and the Gateway Pundit are still pending.

“This serves as further evidence that Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss – while doing their patriotic duty and serving their community – were simply collateral damage in a coordinated effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election,” one of their attorneys, Von DuBose, said of the investigation report. “Lies about Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss have been proven false over and over again, and those who perpetuate them should be held accountable.”
Donald Trump personally ruined the lives of these two Black women because he knew he'd get away with it. An entire conspiracy to try to generate fake evidence sprang up upon Trump's command. I hope the defamation suits break him.
I hope the Georgia election fraud RICO case that Fulton County DA Fani Willis is bringing adds decades to his prison time, and that she rounds up multiple members of his inner circle -- and the corrupt Georgia GOP as well.

Retribution Execution, Con't

As with any criminal legal case like the one Special Counsel Jack Smith filed against Donald Trump this month, the discovery process in Trump's federal trial means that Jack Smith's team is handing over evidence used to obtain the grand jury indictment to Trump's lawyers. It also means Trump will know exactly who ratted him out, and why.

Special counsel Jack Smith has begun producing evidence in the Mar-a-Lago documents case to Donald Trump, according to a Wednesday court filing that hints that investigators collected for the case multiple recordings of the former president – not just audio of an interview Trump gave at Bedminster for a forthcoming Mark Meadows memoir.

Prosecutors in the filing used the plural “interviews” to describe recordings of Trump – made with his consent – obtained by the special counsel that have now been turned over to his defense team. It is unclear what the additional recordings may be of or how relevant they will be to the Justice Department’s case against the former president, though the recordings include the Bedminster tape where Trump speaks about a secret military document to a writer and others, the prosecutors said in the filing.

The prosecutors’ update to the court on Wednesday night marks another swift move toward trial, which the Justice Department has said should happen quickly, and captures at least some of the extent of the evidence investigators secured to build their historic case against Trump.

The first batch of discovery production – made up of unclassified materials – includes transcripts of witness testimony in front of the grand juries in Washington, DC, and Florida that were probing the mishandling of government documents from Trump’s White House. It also includes materials collected via subpoenas and search warrants; memos detailing other witness interviews given through mid-May in the investigation; and copies of the surveillance footage investigators obtained in the probe.

The first batch of evidence, provided on Wednesday, “includes the grand jury testimony of witnesses who will testify for the government at the trial of this case,” the special counsel’s office wrote.

“Defense counsel can contact the government to arrange for inspection of unclassified items seized at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022,” the filing said.

The new submission indicates that Trump’s co-defendant, Walt Nauta has not yet received discovery, but the Smith team said they will promptly provide it once a lawyer enters an appearance for him in the case. Nauta is scheduled to be arraigned next Tuesday.

Given that the people who turned state's evidence against Trump in the grand jury proceedings will likely be called to testify against Trump in the trial, I hope US Marshals are protecting these folks, because as I've mentioned before, Trump has a long history of witness tampering and intimidation over the years. I guarantee you that Trump will try to get to them, because he has to in order to survive.

Yes, Trump only needs one juror to escape justice, but I don't know if he can do that with all the charges unless he can critically damage the testimony of witnesses. The stakes however have never been higher for Trump.

He'll do whatever he needs to do in order to sink this case.

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