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November 28, 2015

Gunman attacks abortion clinic, killing three, before surrendering

Gunman attacks abortion clinic, killing three, before surrendering

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

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A gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people, including one police officer, and injuring nine more, before he surrendered to police hours later. He exchanged fire with police in a standoff lasting around five hours; witnesses reported hearing dozens of gunshots.

There were a grocery store and a shopping mall nearby; police told those who were there to take “shelter in place”.

Colorado Springs police lieutenant Cathrine Buckley said the police doesn’t “have any information on [the suspect’s] mentality, or his ideas or ideology.”

Authorities say the man arrived at the clinic at 11:38 a.m., possibly carrying a “long gun” and maybe even propane tanks. Lieutenant Buckley said officers who entered the building “were able to shout to the suspect and make communication with him and that point they were able to get him to surrender and he was taken into custody.” Buckley said police only made contact and communicated with the suspect hours into the ordeal. The suspect was arrested at 4:52 p.m. after he surrendered to police.

At a press conference this afternoon, police said searching through and investigating the “huge crime scene” may take hours or even days. Buckley said police were searching for people who may still be inside the clinic. Explosives teams have entered the clinic to check for traps.

Vicki Cowart, president of the Rocky Mountains chapter of Planned Parenthood, said that some staff hid in “safe rooms” in the clinic as a part of Planned Parenthood’s security protocol. The Colorado Springs clinic has been the site of many anti-abortion protests; it moved to its current location, which has been called a “fortress” by anti-abortion advocates, a few years ago.

Police evacuated the clinic, and cordoned off the clinic and nearby medical offices.

“Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation,” Cowart said in a statement released on Planned Parenthood’s website. “We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country”

At least 8 murders have been committed against abortion providers since 1977.



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October 30, 2015

China ends one-child policy

China ends one-child policy – Wikinews, the free news source

China ends one-child policy

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Friday, October 30, 2015

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A Chinese family with one child having a picnic at Beihai Park in Beijing
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On Thursday, Beijing announced the end of the one-child policy, which has been in force for 35 years. The Communist Party of China (CPC) said in a statement the “full implementation of a policy allowing each couple to have two children as active response to the ageing of the population”.

“This is an announcement we have been waiting for a generation, but […],” said Wang Feng, Chinese specialist in demography. “It will have no impact on the ageing society, but it will change the family context of many young families”.

The repeal took a historical significance, and could halt some abuses, such as forced abortions. But, only 40% couples considered having a second child. However, whether the legal status of children who were born in once-illegal childbirths will be changed is unclear.

The decision was taken at the 5th Plenum of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, which ended on Thursday. The Central Committee had met for four days devoted to the adoption of the 13th Five Year Plan (2016 to 2020).



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March 28, 2014

Planned Parenthood asks Arizona federal judge for injunction

Planned Parenthood asks Arizona federal judge for injunction

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Friday, March 28, 2014

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The Planned Parenthood Federation of America is asking US federal District Judge David C. Bury to grant an injunction against a new Arizona abortion law. On Wednesday Planned Parenthood and Arizona attorney Mike Tryon were in court to present their arguments.

The law passed in 2012 would take effect on April 1. According to Planned Parenthood, if the law takes effect, it will prevent some women from having an abortion. The Arizona state Attorney General’s Office states it is only regulating one form of abortion.

Abortions are usually medical abortions, meaning medication is taken to induce abortion. The new law would only allow use of abortion medication just as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or specified by the product label. It would also require they administer the medication before seven weeks into the pregnancy. Previous cut off time was set at nine weeks. It would also require the medication be administered at the abortion facility. Planned Parenthood says requiring administration at the facility is a problem particularly for those outside of cities, as the medication is administered over several days.

Medical abortions commonly combine two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol. These two drugs are taken together. Doctors don’t usually give them at the “on-label” dosage. For abortions misoprostol is given at a higher amount than the label says. Planned Parenthood says when it is given at the lower level the abortions may be unsuccessful and require surgery, putting the woman at additional risk. The other drug mifepristone has the opposite problem. The FDA has not updated their approval since 2000. The FDA approval is for a larger dose. Most doctors use the two together. They have found that when the two are combined they are just as effective as mifepristone alone, at the higher dose. Planned Parenthood says the combination of the two is the safest way to have an abortion.

The state says this law is part of their responsibility to protect public health.

The Judge is expected to rule before April 1, when the law would take effect.


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September 10, 2012

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

ABC News yanks 20/20 investigation of Tom Cruise and Scientology

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Monday, September 10, 2012

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An investigation into Scientology and Tom Cruise which was set to air this past Friday on the American television program 20/20 was removed from broadcast by ABC News. This is not the first time that ABC News has pulled an investigation into Scientology from airing on 20/20.

ABC News headquarters in New York City, New York. (2008)
Image: Jim.henderson.

A press release published by ABC on Thursday announced the scheduled airing of the investigation. It described the program as “an in-depth look” by Elizabeth Vargas into the recent report on Tom Cruise and Scientology by journalist Maureen Orth for Vanity Fair in its October 2012 publication.

An analysis of the situation by Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega of The Village Voice pointed out that in 2008, actor and former Scientologist Jason Beghe was interviewed by Elizabeth Vargas after he had flown to New York. Beghe recounted to Vargas his experiences within Scientology and his decision to cease activity in the organization.

However, this interview by Vargas was never shown on ABC.

Cquote1.svg ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly. Cquote2.svg

Editor-in-Chief Tony Ortega, The Village Voice

Ortega noted, “Then, Friday night, ABC caved again, and this time much more publicly.” He highlighted a television screenshot which displays clearly the description given by ABC for the 20/20 program scheduled for Friday: “20/20. New. ‘Lovestyles of the Rich and Famous; The Camera Never Lies’ Journalist Maureen Orth discusses her recent article in Vanity Fair on Scientology and actor Tom Cruise; celebrity”.

According to Ortega, this was to be a significant investigation into Scientology. It was going to cover topics including the recent divorce of actress Katie Holmes from Tom Cruise, the role of minors within the Scientology organization, material on Scientology’s chief David Miscavige, and controversy regarding the elite Scientology group known as the Sea Org. Ortega was himself interviewed as part of the investigation, which he was told would comprise an hour-long broadcast.

Cquote1.svg We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. Cquote2.svg

—Marc Headley

In addition to Ortega, former Scientologists Marc Headley and his wife Claire were interviewed by ABC News for the 20/20 piece which they were informed would be complemented by a news segment on Nightline. Claire told the camera of her two mandatory abortions she experienced while a member of the Sea Org in Scientology; Ortega reported that this interview moved the ABC television crew to tears.

Marc Headley confirmed that he had learned of the ABC News decision. In a post Friday to a legal fund webpage he set up to support his family with litigation costs from Scientology, he commented: “We just got word that both ABC 20/20 & Nightline have pulled the TV shows that were going to air tonight. It appears that someone at OSA is trying to sandbag the downstats over the next few weeks.” OSA is an abbreviation for the Office of Special Affairs — a department within Scientology which has been compared to an intelligence agency that handles legal affairs and public relations. Downstat refers to a negative impact on statistics gathered by Scientology members of the Sea Org due to critical investigations of the organization by the media.



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  • “Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology” — Wikinews, June 15, 2010
  • “Blown for Good author discusses life inside international headquarters of Scientology” — Wikinews, November 13, 2009
  • “YouTube accounts of Scientology critics suspended” — Wikinews, April 18, 2008

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August 21, 2012

Pressure mounts on Missourian US Senate candidate Todd Akin to withdraw after controversial rape comments

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Congressman Todd Akin is facing pressure from fellow Republicans to drop out of the United States Senate election in Missouri after he made controversial comments about abortion in cases of rape. If he withdraws by 5 p.m. central time (1100 UTC) today, the Missouri state Republican party would have 28 days until it would require a court order to replace his name on the ballot.

In an interview with the St. Louis television station KTVI-TV on Sunday, Akin said: “Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Akin’s comments soon gained national notoriety, with numerous politicians condemning his comments. Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have both called for him to drop out of the race. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Akin’s comments were “inexcusable”. President Barack Obama said in a press conference on Monday, “…We shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

The National Republican Senatorial committee has said it will no longer fund Akin’s campaign, regardless if he drops out or not. Other groups who support Akin are considering stopping all campaigning in Missouri.



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Pressure mounts on US Senate candidate Todd Akin to withdraw after controversial rape comments

Pressure mounts on US Senate candidate Todd Akin to withdraw after controversial rape comments

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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Congressman Todd Akin represents Missouri’s 2nd congressional district.
Image: United States Congress.

Congressman Todd Akin is facing pressure from fellow Republicans to drop out of the United States Senate election in Missouri after he made controversial comments about abortion in cases of rape. If he withdraws by 5 p.m. central time (1100 UTC) today, the Missouri state Republican party would have 28 days until it would require a court order to replace his name on the ballot.

In an interview with the St. Louis television station KTVI-TV on Sunday, Akin said: “Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Akin’s comments soon gained national notoriety, with numerous politicians condemning his comments. Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have both called for him to drop out of the race. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Akin’s comments were “inexcusable”. President Barack Obama said in a press conference on Monday, “…We shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

The National Republican Senatorial committee has said it will no longer fund Akin’s campaign, regardless if he drops out or not. Other groups who support Akin are considering stopping all campaigning in Missouri.



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March 14, 2012

Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced

Sandra Fluke insists she will not be silenced

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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In an opinion piece published by CNN on Tuesday, Georgetown University law student and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke insisted she will not allow slurs from critics to silence her and other women from continuing to speak out on issues regarding women’s health and contraception.

Sandra Fluke (2012).
Image: United States Congress .

Fluke has faced slurs and personal attacks after speaking before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in the United States House of Representatives about women’s health and contraception. She was called a “slut” and a “prostitute” by talk radio show host Rush Limbaugh. In response to these attacks, Fluke has received public support from women, members of the media, and politicians including the President of the United States.

Cquote1.svg Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In her piece for CNN, Fluke took the opportunity to thank her supporters, writing, “By now, many have heard the stories I wanted to share thanks to the congressional leaders and members of the media who have supported me and millions of women in speaking out.” She characterized the “opponents of reproductive health access” who issued personal attacks against her as being motivated by an attempt to change the topic of conversation away from a dialogue about women’s health, and “to silence women’s voices regarding their own health care.”

Sandra Fluke discussing her prepared U.S. Congressional testimony
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Fluke wrote that the efforts by some to drown out women from speaking out about women’s health were unsuccessful. She came to this conclusion due to the multitude of positive comments and encouragement sent to her by both female and male individuals urging that contraception medication be considered a medical necessity.

Asserting that she would not remain silent on this issue of women’s health, Fluke wrote, “Attacking me and women who use contraception by calling us prostitutes and worse cannot silence us.”

She noted that a significant majority of women have utilized contraception medication, and commented that there exists a social disconnect between politicians attempting to make it more difficult for women to access this type of health care, and the views of society-at-large about the matter: “Restricting access to such a basic health care service, which 99% of sexually experienced American women have used and 62% of American women are using right now, is out of touch with public sentiment.”

Fluke concluded her piece by emphasizing that those in power should not govern based on ideology: “I am proud to stand with the millions of women and men who recognize that our government should legislate according to the reality of our lives — not for ideology.”

After being banned by Congressman Darrell Issa from speaking before a Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on February 16 which consisted mainly of male panelists, Fluke appeared before a meeting of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee convened by Minority leader of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on February 23.

Fluke spoke to the committee about the need for contraception to be covered by health care plans offered by employers, as a matter integral to women’s health. She cited multiple cases where women take contraception medication as part of their health care for treatment of medical conditions unrelated to birth control, including two women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a woman who is afflicted with endometriosis and another who takes contraception in order to prevent seizures.

Cquote1.svg Time and time again, women have been silenced in this discussion, a discussion about our own very personal health care decisions. Cquote2.svg

—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

U.S. President Barack Obama discusses his phone call to Sandra Fluke. (March 6, 2012)
Video: The White House .

Speaking before the United States Senate on February 17 along with fellow members Patty Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand, Barbara Boxer, and Charles Schumer, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire expressed her support for Fluke. Like Fluke, Senator Shaheen pointed out the need not to silence the voices of women in the public government debate about women’s health care: “Time and time again, women have been silenced in this discussion, a discussion about our own very personal health care decisions.” Senator Shaheen concluded her remarks with an explanation as to why she believes women should have significant representation in discussions about their health care: “Women deserve a voice in this debate because, after all, in the end this is about our health and it is about a health care decision that is between women, their families, their doctors, and their own faith.”

President Barack Obama called Fluke on March 2 to express his support for her courage to speak out on issues of women’s health. In his first press conference of 2012 on March 6, he discussed his reasons for deciding to call Fluke.

The President cited his personal thoughts about his own two daughters: “And the reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha [Obama’s daughters], and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on. I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens.”

President Obama went on to state that Fluke served as a positive role model for citizen participation in democracy and society: “And I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged, and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.”



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February 8, 2012

Komen executive resigns and criticizes Planned Parenthood

Komen executive resigns and criticizes Planned Parenthood

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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Karen Handel, who was vice president of public policy for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, resigned yesterday, one week after the organization took flak for its decision not to fund Planned Parenthood. At her announcement, Handel criticized Planned Parenthood for leading an “orchestrated, clearly pre-meditated attack on Komen.”

Karen Handel in 2010 while she was Secretary of State in Georgia.
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The Komen Foundation is known for raising awareness of breast cancer and for its funding of breast cancer screening.

Handel was a former Republican candidate for governor in the state of Georgia where she took a pro-life stance, but she lost the primary race to current Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, who took office in 2011. Unlike others at Komen, Handel said the organization faced pressure from groups that were against abortion to do something about its funding to Planned Parenthood.

Cquote1.svg I have known Karen for many years, and we both share a common commitment to our organization’s lifelong mission, which must always remain our sole focus. Cquote2.svg

Nancy Brinker

She said Komen’s process for creating a policy that allowed the foundation to decline funding for any organization that was under investigation, even if it was not a criminal investigation, was a “thoughtful and thoroughly reviewed decision … that has unfortunately been turned into something about politics.” Handel said while the guidelines behind the split were created before she had obtained her position at Komen, she was one person in the group who decided to apply them to Planned Parenthood and halt Komen’s funding.

In her statement, Handel said she was “deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it.”

Handel declined a severance package from Komen.

Nancy Brinker, who is Komen’s chief executive and founder, admitted the foundation made mistakes in handling the Planned Parenthood decision last week. “I accepted the resignation of Karen Handel,” Brinker said. “I have known Karen for many years, and we both share a common commitment to our organization’s lifelong mission, which must always remain our sole focus. I wish her the best in future endeavors.”

While the Komen Foundation has since reinstated its funding of Planned Parenthood, several other board members have also resigned since the controversy began.



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  • “Susan G. Komen Foundation reneges on Planned Parenthood funding cuts” — Wikinews, February 4, 2012
  • “Susan G. Komen Foundation stops funding to Planned Parenthood” — Wikinews, February 2, 2012

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February 4, 2012

Susan G. Komen Foundation reneges on Planned Parenthood funding cuts

Susan G. Komen Foundation reneges on Planned Parenthood funding cuts

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Susan G. Komen for the Cure has announced it will continue to fund breast cancer screening and educational programming on breast health run by fellow US-charity Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. This news comes shortly after Komen announced it would cut funding to Planned Parenthood due to an ongoing investigation.

Komen for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker in 2009
Image: Cliff.

Komen has changed its internal criteria for grant funding. Previously, it would not support any organization under investigation of any kind; now it says it will only cut support if the investigation involved is “criminal and conclusive”. The old criteria disqualified Planned Parenthood because it was under investigation by United States House Energy Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Representative Cliff Stearns.

In a statement on Komen’s website, the Board of Directors and founder Nancy G. Brinker wrote, “We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives. The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.”

Planned Parenthood said in response to the restoration of Komen’s funding, it was “enormously grateful”.

Since the cuts were announced, Planned Parenthood gained $3 million (€2.3m, £1.9m) in donations and 10,000 new Facebook likes. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally pledged $250,000 (€190k, £158k). 26 US Senators signed a public letter to the charity; in it they said, “It would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.”



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February 2, 2012

Susan G. Komen Foundation stops funding to Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen Foundation stops funding to Planned Parenthood

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

US Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III completes crosses the finish line of the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has stopped funding breast cancer screening and educational programming on breast health run by fellow US-charity Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. The Komen institute cites an ongoing investigation, while Planned Parenthood blame political pressures.

Planned Parenthood received nearly $700,000 from the Komen Foundation last year alone. In the last five years, the funding from the foundation has granted 170,000 women breast exams.

Leslie Aun, a spokesperson for the Komen Foundation, said the organization adopted a new rule that does not allow grants or funding to be awarded to organizations that are under legal investigation. Komen’s policy disqualified Planned Parenthood due to a pending investigation on how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money that is being conducted by Representative Cliff Stearns. Stearns is investigating whether taxes are used to fund abortions through Planned Parenthood in his role as chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which is under the umbrella of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission,” Aun said.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said, “While this is deeply disturbing and disappointing, we want to assure women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast care that we’re still here for them, and we always will be. The new fund we’re launching to support these services will ensure that the Komen Foundation’s decision doesn’t jeopardize women’s health.”


 
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See Susan G. Komen Foundation reneges on Planned Parenthood funding cuts, February 4, 2012
 

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