Indiana and their New Reproductive Rights laws … that hurt Women


purvi

CREDIT: WNDU News Screenshot

A 33-year-old woman from Indiana faces decades in prison after she sought medical attention at a hospital as she was bleeding from a premature delivery. The case is just the latest example illustrating the real-world consequences of the harsh state laws that essentially criminalize pregnancy.

According to the charges being filed against her, Purvi Patel attempted to end her pregnancy last year by taking pills that she bought online from Hong Kong. The pills didn’t work, and Patel eventually delivered a premature baby at home. When she went to an emergency room to seek treatment after giving birth, the staff asked why she didn’t have an infant with her. She said her baby appeared to be dead, and she had wrapped it in a bag and placed it in a dumpster.

Now, Patel is being charged with both neglect and feticide, allegations that actually conflict with each other. She was initially charged with “neglect of a dependent” after prosecutors learned she left her baby in in a dumpster, a charge that won’t apply if the baby was already dead. But she’s now also being charged with “fetal murder of an unborn child” — a charge that an Indiana judge allowed to stand this week — for taking drugs that could have illegally ended her pregnancy.

As the Daily Beast’s Sally Kohn points out, the logic doesn’t exactly hold up. “The State of Indiana intends to convict and incarcerate Purvi Patel one way or another, whether the fetus she delivered was alive or not — never mind the fact that the facts necessary for filing the one charge (that the fetus have been alive) entirely contradict the facts necessary for filing the other (that the fetus have been dead) and vice versa,” Kohn writes.

On top of that, reproductive rights advocates and legal experts point out that Indiana’s “feticide” law was never intended to be applied to pregnant women themselves. It was originally written as a way to crack down on illegal abortion providers. Critics say Patel fits into a disturbing trend; similar “fetal homicide” laws are in place in at least 38 states, and they’re increasingly used to punish women who end up having miscarriages or stillbirths.

“Once again targeting a woman of color, prosecutors in Indiana are using this very sad situation to establish that intentional abortions as well as unintentional pregnancy losses should be punished as crimes,” Lynn Paltrow, the executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which tracks these cases closely, said in a recent statement about Patel’s case. “In the U.S., as a matter of constitutional law and human decency, no woman should be arrested for the outcome of her pregnancy.”

Patel is the second woman to be prosecuted under Indiana’s feticide law. The state also pressed charges against Bei Bei Shuai, a Chinese immigrant who attempted suicide while pregnant and ended up delivering a baby that didn’t survive. Shaui was imprisoned for more than a year before a plea deal was reached in April, and her case sparked international outrage. More than 100,000 people signed onto a petition demanding Shuai’s release and pointing out that “it is wrong to have a set of separate and unequal laws for pregnant women.”

The laws that allow states to arrest pregnant women for allegedly harming their fetuses actually end up undermining public health. Major medical groups like the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose “feticide” laws because they ultimately deter women from seeking the medical attention they need.

Harsh restrictions on abortion, as well as unreasonably broad definitions of “fetal homicide,” have created a society in which all pregnant women are transformed into potential suspects in the eyes of the law. And since miscarriage and abortion are relatively common pregnancy experiences — and research has proven that women are going to end their pregnancies whether or not it’s legal — that means we’re also approaching a society in which desperate women may be too terrified to ask for health treatment. For instance, if Patel had known that she was at risk for being charged with fetal homicide, would she have thought twice about going to the emergency room? Would she have joined the millions of women around the world who die from botched abortions and risky childbirth?

“We cannot afford to deter a woman from seeking reproductive health care,” the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice pointed out in a statement released this week. “Those of us who are Christian know that when Jesus responded to the hemorrhaging woman there was no place for aggressive interrogation and punishment. It was all for healing.”

The 2009 Racial Justice Act


The North Carolina Racial Justice Act of 2009

…     prohibited seeking or imposing the death penalty on the basis of race. The act identified types of evidence that might be considered by the court when considering whether race was a basis for seeking or imposing the death penalty, and established a process by which relevant evidence might be used to establish that race was a significant factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty. The defendant had the burden of proving that race was a significant factor in seeking or imposing the death penalty, and the state was allowed to offer evidence to rebut the claims or evidence of the defendant. If race was found to be a significant factor in the imposition of the death penalty, the death sentence would automatically be commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.[1]

North Carolina General Assembly Repeal attempts[edit]

Under pressure from a group of 43 district attorneys, who expressed opposition to the act citing the clog of the court system in the state, the North Carolina Senate passed a bill by a 27-14 vote on November 28, 2011, that would have effectively repealed the Racial Justice Act.[2] However, on December 14, Governor Bev Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed the bill, saying that while she supports the death penalty, she felt it was “simply unacceptable for racial prejudice to play a role in the imposition of the death penalty in North Carolina.”[3] The state legislature did not have enough votes to override Perdue’s veto.

Major revision (2012)[edit]

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a major revision of the law in 2012 authored by Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake). The rewrite “severely restricts the use of statistics to only the county or judicial district where the crime occurred, instead of the entire state or region. It also says statistics alone are insufficient to prove bias, and that the race of the victim cannot be taken into account.” The bill was vetoed by Gov. Perdue, but this time, the legislature overrode the governor’s veto.[4]

Repeal[edit]

The North Carolina General Assembly voted to effectively repeal the entire law in 2013 and Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, signed the repeal into law.[5]

Appeals under act[edit]

On April 20, 2012, in the first case appealed under the Racial Justice Act, the then-Senior Resident Superior Court Judge in Cumberland County (Fayetteville), Judge Greg Weeks, threw out the death sentence of Marcus Raymond Robinson, automatically commuting his sentence to life without parole. Robinson contended that when he was sentenced to death in 1994, prosecutors deliberately kept blacks off the jury. Robinson’s lawyers cited a study from Michigan State University College of Law indicating that prosecutors across North Carolina improperly used their peremptory challenges to systemically exclude qualified black jurors from jury service.[6][7][8]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up ^ Senate Bill 461, General Assembly of North Carolina, Session 2009
  2. Jump up ^ Bufkin, Sarah. “North Carolina General Assembly Votes To Repeal Landmark Racial Justice Law”. Think Progress: Justice. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  3. Jump up ^ Jarvis, Greg (2012-12-15). “Perdue veto saves death-row appeal law”. The News & Observer. 
  4. Jump up ^ News & Observer
  5. Jump up ^ Charlotte Observer
  6. Jump up ^ “Judge: Racism played role in Cumberland County trial, death sentence converted in N.C.’s first Racial Justice Act case”. The Fayetteville Observer. April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  7. Jump up ^ “Racial bias saves death row man”. BBC News (BBC). April 20, 2012. Retrieved April 21, 2012. 
  8. Jump up ^ Zucchino, David (April 20, 2012). “Death penalty vacated under North Carolina’s racial justice law”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 21, 2012.

Resource …wiki

a message from Rep. John Lewis


I’m deeply saddened.

If Congress doesn’t act, this will be the first election in 50 years without critical protections from the Voting Rights Act.

the right to vote is precious… even sacred.

That’s why in 1963, I marched on Washington with Martin Luther King for the right to vote.

That’s why in 1965, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote.

Folks marched for this. Folks fought for this. And some even died for the right to vote.

But today, the vital protections in the Voting Rights Act have been gutted by the conservative Justices on the Supreme Court.

Will you stand with me to demand basic voter protections be reinstated?

Voting is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society. And we’ve got to use it!

Election Day is in 41 days. Will you demand that Republicans fix the Voting Rights Act?

Thanks,

Congressman John Lewis

21st Century … Colonialism


Residual Colonialism In The 21St Century …

  The 21st century deserves better. Most importantly, the nearly 2 million people still living under colonial rule deserve better.                   
Article
  • 2012•05•29

    John Quintero

    Residual colonialism in the 21st centuryPhoto: DB King

    Though colonialism is generally considered to be a relic of the past, nearly 2 million people in 16 “non-self-governing territories” across the globe still live under virtual colonial rule.  In recognition of the United Nations International Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories (25–31 May), we present this analysis of “residual colonialism in the 21st century”.

    ♦ ♦ ♦

    In 2009, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) suspended parts of the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), a British Overseas Territory, in response to allegations of systemic corruption in the territory. Direct rule from London was imposed over the democratically elected local government. This unilateral, top-down action removed the constitutional right to trial by jury, suspended the ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and charged a UK-appointed Governor with the administration of the islands.

    A tentative period for elections has been given (fall 2012 at the earliest), but this is subject to the deliberation of the British government and tied to a series of specific milestones that must be met. These announcements provoked protests and demonstrations by the islanders. The suspension of the TCI government over corruption allegations seems to run contrary to the way in which financial and governance crises are handled around the world, including in the UK itself. Scandals are part of political life, but constitutions are not suspended nor are democratically elected governments and institutions disbanded.

    How is it that these events have occurred in a world based on a system of supposedly equal sovereign states? The answer lies in the little known fact that colonial structures continue to exist even today in some parts of the world.

    Continuing colonialism

    The wave of decolonization that swept around the world in the latter half of the 20th century was once heralded as one of the great liberating movements in history. Yet, few seem to realize that colonialism is still with us. As of 2012, 16 territories are deemed still to be under colonial rule and are labeled by the United Nations as “non-self-governing territories (NSGTs)” — areas in which the population has not yet attained a full measure of self-government.

    The 16 NSGTs, home to nearly 2 million people, are spread across the globe. They remain under the tutelage of former colonial powers (currently referred to as “administering powers”), such as the UK, the USA and France.

    Most of the NSGTs feature as only small dots on the world map but are in fact prominent players on the world stage. Some act as the world’s leading financial centres, with GDP per capita amongst the world’s top 10 (e.g., the Cayman Islands and Bermuda), some constitute vital bastions for regional security (e.g., Guam), and there are those whose geographical location has made them prone to diplomatic disputes (e.g., Gibraltar and the Falklands/Malvinas).

    A UN committee on decolonization does exist (Special Committee of 24 on Decolonization), under the purview of the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Special Political and Decolonization Committee). Its mission is to oversee the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (14 December 1960).

    The world underwent a political renovation following the formation of the United Nations in 1945, and the number of sovereign UN Member States has skyrocketed from the original 51 to 193. However, the 50-plus years since the founding of the United Nations have proved to be insufficient to eradicate a centuries-old structure of dominance. This is in spite of the advancement of legal systems based on the notions of the sovereign equality of states and human rights prevalent in the contemporary world.

    Decolonization, as bluntly put by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, remains an unfinished business; an unfinished process that has been with the international community for too long. In solidarity with the peoples of the NSGTs, the present decade (2010-2020) has been declared the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (as the past two decades have proved inadequate to ensure the disappearance of such an archaic concept).

    Independence is not the only option

    The doctrine of self-determination and political equality has prevailed as the guiding principle for decolonization ever since the inception of the United Nations. Much progress has been achieved and political autonomy for many former dependent states (micro-states, even) has been realized, but the decolonization process remains stalled. No territory has achieved self-government since East Timor (now Timor-Leste) won full independence from Indonesia in 2002.

    The many achievements of decolonization by the United Nations cannot be considered truly global while some peoples continue to live under colonial rule. Administering states such as the UK and France continue to exercise top-down authority through modernized dependency governance models that, while perhaps ensuring sustained economic progress, create a democratic deficit and political vulnerability based on unequal status.

    The decolonization agenda championed by the United Nations is not based exclusively on independence. There are three other ways in which an NSGT can exercise self-determination and reach a full measure of self-government (all of them equally legitimate): integration within the administering power, free association with the administering power, or some other mutually agreed upon option for self-rule.

    The current impasse is due, in part, to the denial by the administering states of these options, but also to a lack of public awareness on the part of the peoples of the NSGTs that they are entitled to freely determine their territory’s political status in accordance with the options presented to them by the United Nations. It is the exercise of the human right of self-determination, rather than independence per se, that the United Nations has continued to push for.

    ColonizedNon-Self-GoverningThe framework against colonialism

    International law provides a particularly effective conceptual framework from which to criticize these complex dependency arrangements. In the UN Charter, not only Articles 1 and 55 maintain that one of its fundamental purposes and principles is “to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”. A further three chapters of the Charter are devoted to the dependent territories, namely Chapter XI (Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories), Chapter XII (International Trusteeship System) and Chapter XIII (The Trusteeship Council).

    Core human rights conventions, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) both affirm the right of self-determination and that the states parties to the covenants have the responsibility to promote the realization of self-determination, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. Colonialism has been formally delegitimized as an acceptable international practice, as per the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (General Assembly Resolution 1514 [XV]) in 1960 and a companion resolution defining the three legitimate models of political equality (General Assembly Resolution 1541 [XV]). Further resolutions, for example, established permanent sovereignty over natural resources (General Assembly Resolution 1803 [XVII]).

    In October 1970, UN General Assembly Resolution 2621 (XXV) declared that the further continuation of colonialism in all its forms and manifestations is a crime, and in 1977 General Assembly Resolution 32/14 reaffirmed the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.

    The road ahead

    Colonialism made the political world map look much as it does today, drawing up borders with no regard for local sensibilities and realities. It negated or purposefully misconceived the cultural, economic, political and social conditions under which the colonized led their lives. In the process, colonial powers imposed inappropriate identities on the people they ruled, crippling peoples’ self-esteem, thus diminishing their self-efficacy and potentially stunting their long-term social development.

    Given the modern emphasis on the equality of states and inalienable nature of their sovereignty, many people do not realize that these non-self-governing structures still exist. Thus, the world has closed its eyes to continuing colonial dependence.

    World media has the potential to play a pivotal role in advancing decolonization by exposing developments that infringe on the exercise of the right of self-determination and that worsen the political vulnerability of the NSGTs. The issue at hand is not that colonialism does not exist in today’s world because the populations of these territories overwhelmingly do not define these territories as colonies. Rather, it is that these populations have not been provided with an opportunity to decide on a legitimate political status through popular consultation in the form of an acceptable act of self-determination. Once this is made sufficiently clear, media coverage and overview can be expected.

    In light of the disbandment of an overseas democratically elected government in TCI, the international community, the public in general and the peoples of the NGSTs alike have been reminded that the UN agenda on colonialism is very much relevant and crucial — -not only for the protection of fundamental human rights, but to democratic governance and an international order principled upon the notions of sovereignty and the equality of states.

    One of the greatest and most visible achievements of the United Nations has been to pursue the decolonization of the colonized world. However, a successful end to this process cannot be based on simply removing territories from the UN list of NSGTs (de-listing), but rather on the actual achievement of full self-government.

    De-listing cannot be perceived as the goal, but rather as a secondary product resulting from clear indicators of self-government, political equality vis-à-vis the administering state, and the promotion and support of genuine political education programmes that allow the populace of those territories to freely choose their status and their future. Not doing so would result in stymieing the legitimate aspirations of peoples whose human rights the United Nations was created to protect.

    Colonialism is a concept of an exploitative past that runs counter to the principles of sovereign equality on which the United Nations is grounded. As commonly expressed in General Assembly debates, colonialism is anachronistic, archaic, and outmoded; it contravenes the fundamental tenets of democracy, freedom, human dignity and human rights.

    The 21st century deserves better. Most importantly, the nearly 2 million people still living under colonial rule deserve better.

    Black History Month

‘Racial Justice Act’ repealed in North Carolina’ ~~ Information we must ALL read& know


By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 3:48 AM EDT, Fri June 21, 2013
 http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2013/06/21/ac-lavandera-pkg-death-due-to-race.cnn.html
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The 2009 law allowed inmates to argue that race played a role in sentences
  • Gov. Pat McCrory said it effectively halted capital punishment in the state
  • Democrats say four condemned convicts had their sentences reduced to life under the law

(CNN) — North Carolina’s governor says he agreed to repeal a law that allowed inmates to challenge their death sentences on racial grounds because it effectively banned capital punishment in the state.

North Carolina legislators barred death sentences “sought or obtained on the basis of race” in 2009, when both houses of the state General Assembly were under Democratic control.

The, legislation, known as the Racial Justice Act, allowed condemned convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.

Was race a factor in death sentence?

Republicans who took control of the Legislature in 2010 weakened the law last year, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.

Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican elected in 2012, followed legislative action and signed its complete repeal Wednesday.

“Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence under the Racial Justice Act,” McCrory said in a statement Wednesday. “The state’s district attorneys are nearly unanimous in their bipartisan conclusion that the Racial Justice Act created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice.”

The state still allowed capital punishment even while the Racial Justice Act was on the books. But state Democrats said the law resulted in at least four convicts being taken off death row after judges ruled that their sentences resulted from racial bias, with their sentences commuted to life in prison instead.

About 53% of the 153 convicts awaiting execution in North Carolina are black, according to the state Department of Public Safety, while about 40% are white. African-Americans make up about 22% of the state’s population, according to Census figures.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.